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Okayama boy dead after shooting himself with police pistol

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A 16-year-old boy was found dead in his room on Thursday, and his father's police-issued pistol was found at his side, police said Friday.

Police said the boy, a first year high school student, had been absent from school since Monday and had locked himself in his room since Wednesday morning. He had tied a cord around the door knob to his room in the Shinjo home he lived in with his parents and younger brother, which he returned to on weekends while living in a high school dormitory during the week.

The home also served as a police sub-station, and the boy's father, a 55-year-old sergeant, found the boy dead on his bed on Thursday at about 4.30 p.m. with a gunshot wound to his head, and the father's service revolver by his side. The boy had left a note on a table beside the bed which said that he didn't want to live anymore.

In accordance with police regulations, the pistol was supposed to be kept in locked storage in the police sub-station, but the boy's father put the gun in a locker in the living room on Wednesday at 12.30 p.m. as he was not able to access the usual storage location which involved passing through his son's room.

Police said the boy knew where his father kept the key to the locker in the living room, and is believed to have switched the pistol for a replica some time later in the day. Police added the boy's father didn't notice the pistol he was carrying on Thursday was the replica, until he discovered his son dead in his bedroom.

© News reports

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50 Comments
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Poor fella was probably getting bullied at school...

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Suicide is such a cop out.

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Japanese police don't need pistols. They never fire them in the line of duty anyway, and if they were to point them at a criminal and discharge them, there's little chance of hitting the target from a distance of more than 3 metres. It would seem that most of the fatalities from firearms owned by the police and military in Japan are self-inflicted.

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@okasurferdude - I agree it is but that does not lessen the pain of the loss to the people they leave behind. Not a day goes by I don't think about one I lost.

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Here we go, weapons discipline at its worst. If it is not stressed out members of the police force who are knocking themselves off at police boxes, then it is their family members. Really, between fitting up suspects and letting the kids into the gun locker, police in this country cannot be trusted with anything more dangerous than a copy of the yellow pages. Indeed, when the dead kid's father gets over the shock of junior having coated the walls with cranial matter, lets hope his comrades in arms arrest him for negligence resulting in death.

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there is no point blaming the father. It was a mistake on his part but there are 30,000 suicides and this just happened to be from the cop's pistol.. if the pistol was not there also, he would have used other means like 29,999 others. Good thing is he did not go out shooting at others. My sympathy for the berieved family.

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I disagree. The father needs to carry the can for this one. He is the police officer to whom this weapon was entrusted. The youth in question got access to this weapon through the negligence of his father. As such, dad needs to go down for negligence resulting in death.

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Accessing the usual storage location would involve going through the son's room? I wonder what else did? I am sure glad my room was at the end of the hall. Man!

timorborder: Here we go, weapons discipline at its worst.

Come on. This is not Chief Wiggum cracking nuts with the butt of a loaded gun!

The worst I can see here is that the cop could not tell the replica apart from the real gun. That tells me he did not bother to check that the gun was loaded. And while that is bad discipline, its not the worst.

Its too bad the son knew where the keys to the locker were. In the process of searching he might have changed his mind. Its possible he might have chose another method of suicide also, but a gun just makes it all so easy.

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Timorborder I somehow doubt whether the father in question gives a shit about what you think. I'd say he feels bad enough without you two bits worth.If your life is so vapid that you get your kicks this way matbe its time you got a pistol!

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Whoa. Weird story. 'The home also served as a police sub-station'? 'switched the pistol for a replica'?

The boy hadn't been going to school and had locked himself in his room for a day and a half--that should have set off alarm bells to the parents. Sounds like someone in the family knew that the boy knew where to find the key to the locker too.

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He would rather break the gun storage rule and put his family at risk rather than trying to open his son's room door to see what was going on and why his son locked himself in the room for three days?

Negligent father.

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The cop would have got a shock if he tried to shoot a dangerous criminal and ended up squirting him with water.

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way to go dad.

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"Negligent Father" ?

Hardly ! I say drag his ass in for questioning ! This story is chock full of suspicious behaviour and the father's alibi is too well conceived. More than likely the kid wouldn't leave his room and go back to school, the old man got irate, started waving the pistol around and "bang" !

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Seriously, i am not sure if this gun ban is actually helping Jland. There are many who possess the licenses and loads of crazy things happeng with replicas and softs. Seen quite a bit here. visit a shooting range here and you might ask 'why is this man having a gun'.

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Bottom line: if father followed proper protocol he would have locked the gun up properly saving his son's life and not risking his own life by patroling the streets with a fake gun.

What else is there to say?

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Again, suicide is a permenent solution to a temporary porblem. This kid sent up the red flag by locking himself in his room and nobody saw it. Terrible waste.

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Come on. This is not Chief Wiggum cracking nuts with the butt of a loaded gun!

I beg to disagree. Having grown up with firearms and having served in the military, I am fully aware of what weapons discipline means. It does not mean skiving off and just storing the weapon in a location that is convenient. It means maintaining the weapon to a suitable standard and also ensuring that such items are kept away from sticky little fingers.

Actually, I remember the case a couple of years ago of the doctor who left his shotgun (and ammunition) in the same location, allowing one of his kids to do something similar. Despite the tragedy, the cops in that case banged up the father for negligence, what is the difference here? If weapons are to be kept in the home (during periods of down time), then guidelines have to be obeyed to the letter.

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The father needs to carry the can for this one.

Beg to differ there..If the boy wanted to kill himself he could also have resorted to other means, would u also blame the father in that case?

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As a gun owner in Japan, I can tell you one thing; the father will be in big trouble! My guns can be checked at any time, unannounced. If the police find them out of the locker, or even if they are in the locker but the locker is unlocked or damaged in some way, I would lose the guns and the licence. The rules are very strict here, even down to how many screws have to affix the locker to a wall.

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This story has FAIL written all over it from about fifteen different angles.

How in the world do you "find" a dead kid with a bullet hole in his head? Wouldn't that make quite a loud noise? How did the father mysteriously get into the room just after he killed himself when for three days he couldn't?

Poor kid. What a sad way to go.

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I believe that the boy did want to kill himself and probably wrote a suicide letter. So why go to the trouble of finding a replica gun, switch it on the father, and then still shoot himself at home in his room, that had been tied with a cord ? None of this makes any sense. Why not just wait for the father to leave for the local combini, walk out of his bedroom, get the gun, and shoot himself while no-one is around ? I say the whole story stinks ! there was no switching of the gun. The father probably got tired of listening to his whiney son bitchin about his lot in life, walked into the room with the gun and either told the boy to shut up or pull the trigger, or the father did it for him while making menacing threats. you just wait for the follow-up.

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Policeman having no control over his pistol and his son is out there guarding japanese streets.

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Dumb and dumber!

I hope his father feels doubly ashamed! firstly for treating his son so badly he didn't want to live anymore and secondly for giving him the means to go through with it.
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Poor kid. Even if the father HAD followed gun storage protocol, the kid is 16 years old so the parents are with out a shadow of a doubt, guilty of letting their son reach the point of suicide. No excuses. The guilt that the father feels and will feel for the rest of his life should be enough punishment.

Branded: That's an interesting perspective, but if the father did it, then how would he have left the room and tied the cord to the door knob from the inside? Even if the father is the one that found him dead, the mother would have also vouched that the door would not open whilst the son had locked himself in.

Timorborder: Your choice of words in your first post is at best... callous. Especially the last sentence. I'm thankful I don't have friends like you.

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timorborder, you may know quite a few things about gun discipline, but your interpretation of the article leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the case of the doctor leaving his gun on the table with kids in the room was the first thing that popped into my mind when you said "worst gun discipline". This case is totally different! The man locked the gun in a different locker as he COULD NOT ACCESS THE USUAL PLACE. Locking a gun up is good gun discipline. Where he failed is in following proper police proceedure. But then, what is proceedure when your son bars access to the proper locker?

Whether he was aware that his son knew the location of the key or not is anyone's guess. But I can tell you its hard to keep such things secret from a teen by experience. But then you always think something is secure until the point you find out it isn't.

So, is your better solution to kick the son's door in so that he can stow the weapon? Bear in mind the weapon would either be on him or somewhere. Then, if he gets a call in the middle of the night, to kick the door in again, and then proceed out of his son's room with that weapon? Whatever you say, I don't envy his choices.

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Tahoochi: I don't think you can automatically blame the parents for the boy's choice to commit suicide. We don't know what kind of problems the boy had or how aware the parent's were of his state of mind. I do, however, think they should have made more of an effort to check on him and get him to come out of his room. Certainly teenagers can be stubborn but it shouldn't have come to this. They had a troubled teenager and a gun in the house--not a good combination.

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Suicide, big problem in Japan. Half the population has roughly the same total number of suicides as the US annually. Gun violence - hardly a pimple worth commenting on here. He would have gassed himself or jumped off a building if he had no gun handy. At least this way no one else had to go with him. Better than jumping in front of a rush-hour Tokyo train and inconveniencing a couple million people.

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Its too bad this kid didn't have an outlet, or one empathetic ear. 16 is a dark age to get through... RIP youngster.

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Police added the boy’s father didn’t notice the pistol he was carrying on Thursday was the replica

Are you a policeman or a moron! RIP little boy your father was an idiot.

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Dolphingirl: True, there's only so much parents can do... AS LONG AS the parents of this poor kid maintained positive reinforcement, constant communication, and a genuine interest in their kid's school AND social life (not just grades), then the parents cannot be fully blamed. What do you think the chances are that they did all of this with him living at a dorm for most of the week?

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he was not able to access the usual storage location which involved passing through his son’s room.

the boy’s father didn’t notice the pistol he was carrying on Thursday was the replica.

My head is raw from all the scratching I have been doing. I cant believe what I am reading. Just staggering...

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What did his school say? 2 paragraphs pertaining to the gun and that is JT journalism.

Anyway, the issue is not about the gun, and how to hide it in safekeeping, but why the boy commit suicide. If the boy is living in a dormitory during the weekdays, and only goes home every weekend, should the authorities try to investigate in school.

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dolphingirl - I don't think you can automatically blame the parents for the boy's choice to commit suicide.

Really? How do you come to this conclusion? Even if you consider it to be the result of bullying or some other outside influence it is still the parents who failed to give the emotional support to save this kid from himself. Wouldn't you agree?

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Very odd suicide story. If the gun was locked down on the other side of the kids room, then why didn't papa break the door down?

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Disillusioned: Really? How do you come to this conclusion?

I think it was safe of dolphingirl to say that jumping to automatic conclusions should not be done. I think its easy to predict the past, but back when it was the future it was a lot harder, even for parents trying to figure out if their son is just having a bad day or is about to check out of the hotel of life. As someone who did consider checking out as a teen, and as someone who was never easy to read, and as someone who always valued my privacy, I can tell you it is not safe to assume that every parent can see a teen suicide coming if they only try.

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dontknockit: Exactly! Even if his parents gave him all the love and support, & kept lines of communication open, there's still the possibility that the darkness of depression had taken him over and he didn't see a way out. He may have been an introverted person who didn't share his feelings. Teenagers are not exactly known for telling their parents everything.

Approaching the end of high school is a particularly stressful and difficult time for many teens. It can be very scary to be finishing regular school and going into the unknown.

I think most parents try to do their best but no parent imagines that their child is going to commit suicide. Perhaps only in hindsight, when it is too late, does one see the signs...

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Seems life has no value here in Japan. Be it for the adults or the children...sad!

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The home also served as a police sub-station

This is strange to begin with.

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where did it go wrong in the first place?

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luckily the father wasnt involved in a life or death situation which would have required the use of a firearm since yesterday he was most certainly not packing heat/a rod. poor dumb kid.

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and the father’s service revolver...

Tragic as this is, the regular cops have revolvers, not pistols. Different animals altogether. The national penchant for keeping things bottled up claims another tragic victim. Talk to each other, please! Saying, "I need help!" is not a sign of weakness.

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this is very tragic story especially for a child in this age. those children need to be observed more by their parents. they need someone to listen to their problems, understand and support them emotionally before anything else.

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Having a 16-year-old boy going through this hell called J-high school, I can understand how this can happen. It's a terrible way to raise kids.

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the pistol was supposed to be kept in locked storage in the police sub-station, but the boy’s father put the gun in a locker in the living room on Wednesday at 12:30 pm

Hello? This is Japan. Not the US or some other foreign countries where the ordinary households are allowed to possess the firearms for their own security with strict legal conditions.

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Poor kid!!!Bullying was after the tragedy for sure.

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"I need help!" is not a sign of weakness.

With all the self-professed grass-eaters, I'd say "appearing weak" is not a big issue.

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you cant be sure it was bullying (even though it probably did have a part)

this kids situation sounded odd to begin with. he's just a kid living in a dorm, his "real" home was a sub station. dad was a cop who didn't seem to be involved. who was he going to turn to?

i don't even think the gun was an issue. if he wanted to kill himself he would've found a way.

poor kid

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Seems life has no value here in Japan. Be it for the adults or the children...sad!

Seesaw: If I was born and raised in Japan, and I went to any western country and saw all the violence and homicides, I would think the same thing about that country. I think you meant to say: Seems your own life has no value here in Japan?

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fubroshi is on the money here. Imagine not being able to invite anyone home coz it's the local Police Station. Imagine being teased for having a cop as a father, with a very low wage. If you're strong enough, or if your parents can tell you what is really important and what is not, then maybe you can see yourself through it. If you're a regular teenager with any amount of pride, and weak into the bargain, then school will not be a fun place to be, and home will be just as bad. The gun must have been the most interesting thing in his short life.

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