3 Dead , 1 injured in Japan After Stabbing, Shooting Incident in Nagano

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Witnesses said the attacker wore camouflage and used what appeared to be a hunting rifle. Authorities said he is now holed up inside a nearby house in the farming community.

A woman and two police officers were killed in a shooting and stabbing attack in central Japan on Thursday.

The incident occurred in a quiet farming neighborhood near Nakano in Nagano Prefecture, report says.

Officers rushed to the scene on Thursday after a pedestrian reported a commotion in Nakano city in the central Japanese prefecture of Nagano.

Witnesses described seeing a man wearing camouflage and a mask stab one woman and later shoot two police officers with what appeared to be a hunting rifle.

The perpetrator is believed to be barricaded inside the house of the city council president, and authorities said they were unable to rescue a fourth person who had been injured because he was too close to the suspect.

Two police officers also died, and one person was injured, the news agency added. The injured person is believed to be lying nearby the scene of the incident, the BBC reported.

Video on NHK showed police wearing bulletproof vests and carrying shields, with an ambulance nearby. The area is in a quiet farming neighbourhood. A witness earlier told NHK public television that a woman fell while being chased by the suspect, who then stabbed her with a knife and shot at two police officers as they arrived at the scene in Nakano city in the prefecture of Nagano

The three were taken to a nearby hospital, where the woman was later pronounced dead, police said. The two police officers also died later, according to report.

Crimes involving guns are extremely rare in Japan, where gun ownership is tightly regulated and anyone seeking to own a gun must go through a rigorous process before a licence is granted.

former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated last year with a home-made firearm.