Shinji Aoba Named Suspect in Deadly Arson Attack at Japanese Anime Studio that Left 33 Dead, 36 Injured; Accused Studio of Stealing Novels from Him

  • Police have identified 41-year-old Shinji Aoba as the suspect in the deadly arson attack at the Japanese Kyoto Animation studio on Thursday that left 33 dead and injured more than 36 because he alleged the studio had “stolen novels” from him.
  • About 70 people were inside the building at the time of the attack, and the majority of the deaths and injuries were employees of the studio.
  • According to reports, “the blaze blocked the front door and quickly engulfed the workspace, rising up the stairs towards the third floor as it sent panicked employees fleeing.”
  • While some people were able to escape the building by crawling out of windows, many were unable to exit through the roof.
  • Employees chased down and caught Aoba who tried to run after the attack. He fell to the ground and was “quickly surrounded by law enforcement.”
  • Aoba reportedly told police his reason for torching the studio: “They are always stealing. It’s their fault.”
  • Aoba was hospitalized for injuries he sustained after he burst into the studio, yelled “You die,” threw a flammable liquid at the entrance of the building and lit it on fire.
  • Officials confirmed Aoba was not an employee at the studio, which produces films and graphic novels.
  • According to Japanese broadcaster, NHK, Aoba has “a criminal record and was previously jailed for stealing money from a convenience store.”
  • The president of Kyoto Animation said the business had “recently received threatening letters but had no idea if they were connected to the attack.” It’s not yet known if Aoba was the person who sent the threats.
  • After the attack that shocked the nation, dozens of people convened at the studio to pray and lay down flowers.
  • Fans of the studio also set up a crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than $1.3 million so far to support the victims and their families.

Reference Links

  • BBC: Kyoto Animation fire: Police name suspect after studio blaze READ
  • CBS: Suspect in arson attack that killed 33 reportedly had grudge against Kyoto Animation READ
  • Fox: Man accused of starting fire at Kyoto anime studio held grudge against company, claimed it ‘stole novels’ READ

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