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Gangster admits shooting U.S. serviceman in 'car rage'
Tue Oct 28 2003 21:27:28 ET

HIROSHIMA, Oct. 29 (Kyodo) _ A gangster turned himself in at a police station in Hiroshima on Tuesday night and admitted shooting a U.S. serviceman and threatening two others last Sunday in city, saying he did it because they had stepped in front of his car, the police said.

Tomoyuki Matsumoto, 37, a former ranking member of an organized crime group, now unemployed, handed over an automatic pistol when he appeared at the Hiroshima Higashi police station at around 9:40 p.m., the police said.

He was arrested on suspicion of violating the firearms and swords law, the police said.

Matsumoto was quoted as telling the police, ''I was annoyed by the man who cut across in front of my car, so I shot him.''

The police said they will also question Matsumoto with a view to having him charged with the attempted murder of the serviceman, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Heinz, 21.

The incident took place at around 4 a.m. Sunday in Hiroshima's Naka Ward when Heinz and two other U.S. servicemen were walking on a street. A man in a car fired one shot, hitting Heinz in the left side of his waist.

The man got out of the car and pointed the gun at the other two servicemen before driving off, the police said earlier.

The vehicle was found Monday in the city's Asaminami Ward. Matsumoto told the police that he decided to give himself up as he could not escape after the car was found.

Heinz is a preventive medicine corpsman at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He was originally misidentified as a U.S. Marine. He underwent surgery at a Hiroshima hospital to remove a bullet from his side and is reportedly in stable condition.

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