Tokyo auto attack: Van slams into New Year's revelers, injuring 8 people

Geneva Stokes
January 1, 2019

A auto is inspected by police after it injured several pedestrians on Takeshita Street in Tokyo, early Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

At least nine people were injured, one seriously, when a vehicle deliberately plowed into crowds celebrating New Year's Eve in a central part of Tokyo, according to police.

He was identified as Kazuhiro Kusakabe, 21, from Osaka, a major city about 400 km (250 miles) southwest of Tokyo, NHK said.

The crash happened on Takeshita Dori, a road well known to tourists and pop culture and fashion fans that runs right by Meiji Shrine in Harajuku.

Car attack injures 8 pedestrians in Tokyo during New Year's festivities
Tokyo attack: Man drives car into New Year's Eve crowds with 'intention to kill'

According to local media, Kusakabe hit a total of eight people and assaulted another on the street, which was closed to vehicle traffic at the time as revellers crammed the area to celebrate the arrival of 2019. The front of the vehicle was badly damaged and dozens of police and rescue officials were at the scene.

According to national broadcaster, NHK, the suspect fled from the scene and assaulted a passerby before he was captured minutes later.

The police also found a 20-liter tanks of kerosene in the auto, which Kusakabe said he planned to use to burn the vehicle, according to the police. But I shudder to think. "Really scary, isn't it?" one bystander told NHK. When apprehended by police, the man declared that he had carried out a terrorist attack.

Eight people were injured, one seriously, by the attacker who struck in the Harajuku fashion district shortly after midnight.

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