Shinto shrine head, 2 others killed in Tokyo sword attack

People visit Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo Friday Dec. 8 2017. Police say three people have died in a stabbing attack on Thursday night at the prominent shrine including the head priest and the attacker who apparently took his own life

At around 8:35 p.m., police received a distress call about a woman wielding a sword violently on a road near Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.

Head priestess Nagako Tomioka, 58 and the two suspected attackers, her brother Shigenaga, 56, and a woman in her 30s believed to be his girlfriend, died Thursday evening, Metropolitan Police Department sources said.

The assailant, identified as 56-year-old Shigenaga Tomioka, attacked his 58-year-old sister sister Nagako Tomioka, the shrine's chief priestess, with a Samurai sword and killed her after she got off from a chauffeur-driven vehicle.

A police officer walks near the scene of a stabbing attack at Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.

The priestess, named in Japanese media as 58-year-old Nagako Tomioka was on the way to the shrine and was attacked when stepping out of her vehicle.

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Nagako Tomioka's driver, 33, was also seriously injured in the attack. She then slashed him in the right shoulder. The driver's injuries were not life-threatening.

At least one blood sword and two survival knives were found near the scene, Japanese media said.

The attacker was the chief priest of the shrine more than a decade ago, but was demoted from the post and succeeded by his sister.

Shigenaga sent a threatening letter to his sister in 2006, saying he would "send her to hell", the Sankei newspaper said.

Shigenaga and the other woman, who was his girlfriend and believed to be in her 30s, apparently ambushed Nagako after she got out of a auto on the grounds of the shrine in Tokyo's eastern ward of Koto. The Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, established in 1927, has a close link with sumo and the emperor and empress visited in 2012. The shrine left the association on September 28 this year.

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