Man confesses to shooting Iwakuni sailor
A 37-year-old Japanese man confessed Tuesday to shooting an Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station sailor after turning himself into Hiroshima Higashi Police.
Meanwhile, Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric S. Heinze, 21, a preventive medicine corpsman, remained in a hospital in Hiroshima on Wednesday morning.
Heinze is “recovering very well and experiencing no unusual pain,” a base spokesman said.
Tomoyuki Matsumoto brought a handgun with him to the police station at 9:40 p.m. Tuesday and turned himself in, police said.
Matsumoto is unemployed and resides in Minami Ward in Hiroshima City.
He placed under arrest at 10:33 p.m. for possession of an automatic handgun, a violation of the Firearms and Sword Control Law.
During interrogation by police, Matsumoto confessed to shooting the sailor because he crossed in front of his car early Sunday morning, police said. At the time of the shooting, Heinze was accompanied by two other sailors.
Matsumoto is not yet facing a charge related to the shooting, police said, noting the case remains under investigation.
“We received official notification about the arrest Wednesday morning, and we are pleased with the cooperation we’ve had working with the local police and have great confidence in their efforts,” Iwakuni base spokesman Capt. Stewart Upton said Wednesday.
Heinze was walking with two other sailors in Hiroshima’s Nagarekawa District when a man opened fire from a moving vehicle early Sunday, police said. After shooting, the man exited his car, pointed his weapon at Heinze’s friends, said something in Japanese and fled.
Police and base officials are not identifying the victim’s companions.
Hiroshima, about 45 minutes by train from the base, is a popular destination for Iwakuni Marines and sailors.
No restrictions as far as travel to Hiroshima are in place in Iwakuni because of the shooting.