A senior police officer was stabbed to death at the Higashi-Sendai police box in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on Sept. 19 and his attacker shot and killed by a police sergeant on duty. (Video footage by Kenji Notsu)

SENDAI--A police sergeant shot and killed a knife-wielding man who had fatally stabbed an officer at a police box here before dawn on Sept. 19.

Hiroaki Seino, 33, a senior police officer working at the Higashi-Sendai police box under the jurisdiction of the Sendai-Higashi Police Station in Miyagi Prefecture, died after being stabbed around 4 a.m. by a visitor.

The assailant was shot to death by a police sergeant who was also manning the box. Seino was pronounced dead at a hospital an hour later.

Miyagi prefectural police identified the attacker as Yuta Aizawa, 21, a university student residing in Miyagino Ward. His home was located about 700 meters east of the police box.

According to police, Aizawa stopped by the police box to report some cash he found on the street. At the time, Seino and the sergeant were on duty and dealt with the visitor. When the sergeant left the room, he heard an argument and shouting and returned.

When he re-entered the room, he saw Seino, who had been stabbed, lying on the floor. Aizawa, who had also fallen to the floor, stood and came at the sergeant while holding a knife and an object that appeared to be an automatic weapon.

The sergeant warned Aizawa to drop the knife, then fired one shot as he continued to move forward. He again warned him to stop before firing a second and third time.

At 4:07 a.m., the sergeant pressed an emergency button to report the attack to the prefectural police headquarters.

Seino's gun was not taken. Police recovered a knife at the scene that was about 30 centimeters in length. There were no signs that any of the shots carried outside the room. Police said there were two other police officers present in the police box at the time, who were resting in a napping room.

A 71-year-old man who operates a nearby cake shop expressed surprise at the killings.

“When I was having trouble falling asleep, I heard the loud sound of three bullets being fired," he said. "I thought that this area was safe as a police box is located here. I can’t believe such a thing occurred.”

The police box is located in a residential area adjacent to Higashi-Sendai Junior High School, which is about 200 meters northwest of Higashi-Sendai Station on the JR Tohoku Line.

The attack is the third violent incident that has occurred at police boxes across Japan in recent months.

In June, a 46-year-old assistant police inspector stationed at a police box in Toyama Prefecture, was stabbed to death by a former Ground Self-Defense Force officer and his pistol was taken, police said. The inspector was attacked when he answered a knock at the back door of the police box.

He died due to hemorrhagic shock after being stabbed a dozen times around his abdominal area.

After that, the assailant shot to death a 68-year-old security guard at a nearby elementary school. The suspect was shot by a police officer and taken into custody and arrested on suspicion of murder.

On the evening of April 11, a 41-year-old police sergeant was shot to death in a police box in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture. The suspect, a 19-year-old police officer he was training, was arrested early the next morning walking along railway tracks in a neighboring town.

According to police, the younger officer said he snapped after being scolded.

“When I was learning to make documents, I think that my stress just boiled over,” he said.