A man who is suspected of igniting a fire in an animation studio that killed 33 people Thursday in Kyoto, Japan, apparently had a grudge against the studio.
“Witness accounts and reports suggested the man had a grudge against Kyoto Animation, but police only have said the suspect, Shinji Aoba, 41, who is hospitalized with severe burns and unable to talk, is from near Tokyo and did not work for the studio,” the AP reports. “Japanese broadcaster NHK and other media, quoting an unnamed source, said Aoba spent three and half years in prison for robbing a convenience store in 2012 and lived on government support.”
The report cites Japanese media accounts indicating Aoba told police he set the fire because he thought Kyoto Animation “stole novels.”
In addition to the dead, the attack left another 35 people injured, some critically.
“About 70 people were working inside the three-story Kyoto Animation No. 1 studio in southern Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, Thursday at the time of the attack,” the AP reports. “The arsonist arrived carrying two containers of flammable liquid. He shouted, ‘You die!’ as he entered the studio’s unlocked front door, dumped the liquid using a bucket, and set it afire with a lighter, police said, quoting witnesses.”
The report adds: “The blaze blocked the front door and quickly engulfed the workspace, rising up the stairs to the third floor, sending panicked employees fleeing. Some were able to escape by crawling out of windows, with the help of neighbors. Many tried but failed to escape to the roof, fire officials said. Most of the victims are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, experts say.”