A suspected arson attack on Japanese anime studio Kyoto Animation has left at least 33 dead and dozens injured. The Japan Times reports that a 41-year-old suspect has been arrested following the fire, which is the deadliest mass murder incident in Japan since the 2001 Myojo 56 building fire.
People at the scene told police that they witnessed a man screaming "Die!" and "Drop dead" as he poured gasoline around the building. It is believed that around 70 people were in the building when the fire started at around 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. The suspect is currently being treated for injuries at a hospital in Kyoto. As of right now, his motive for the suspected attack is unclear. Bodies of 11 victims were found across the second floor of the building, while four were found on the stairs.
"A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints," a 59-year-old local witness explained. Another witness said, "I heard a bang. The black smoke rose and the burning smell was awful."
In an interview with NHK, Kyoto Animation president Hideaki Hatta said the company had received anonymous death threats for a number of years prior to the attack. "This has just broken our hearts. What’s the use of resorting to violence?" Hatta added.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said in a statement that the incident was "too appalling for words." At least 36 others were injured in the attack, with some in critical condition.
Kyoto Animation is best known for their work on K-ON!, Violet Evergarden, and the critically acclaimed A Silent Voice: The Movie. Fans launched a GoFundMe page in hopes of helping the independent company recover, raising nearly $625,000 in just nine hours, some contributions as high as $3,000.