Photo/Illutration Nara prefectural police on July 13 conduct a crime scene probe in Nara where former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed on July 8. (Satoru Ogawa)

Police found at least three small holes in the outer wall of a multistoried parking lot as they searched the crime scene of the attack on former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 13 in Nara.

Officers with metal detectors in hand crawled on the ground side by side, looking for any articles left behind, such as traces of the bullets fired. 

The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, is accused of using a homemade gun to assassinate the former prime minister. 

Police found the small holes at the parking lot about 90 meters north from where the shooter fired the weapon.

Abe was standing at a crossing, delivering a campaign speech while facing north, when he was shot at around 11:32 a.m. on July 8.

Police believe Yamagami stepped off the sidewalk and approached Abe from behind.

Two shots were fired within about three seconds of each other.

The parking lot is in the same straight line of where the weapon was fired and where Abe was standing.

Police believe part of the bullets that were fired reached the parking lot and dented the outer wall.

Fifty or so officers from the Nara prefectural police, mostly lab experts, were dispatched to the north side of Kintetsu Line Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara for the probe.

The area was roped off from around 4:30 a.m and the search started a little before 5 a.m., continuing for about two hours.

They searched flowerbeds and shrubs in the area as well.

When a metal detector sounded or when officers found an item possibly related to the shooting, they placed a plate stating, “Caution,” and then measured the distance between the plates.

Sources said officers also discovered multiple metal pieces during the probe.

They will examine whether the fragments were bullets that were fired from the weapon.

A campaign car was parked near Abe when the shooting occurred, and police previously found several holes in a signboard on the vehicle that appeared to be along the bullet trajectory.

The National Police Agency on July 12 launched a team of 20 or so officials to examine the security detail for Abe and pinpoint the problems.

"I have seriously taken to heart that police could not live up to our responsibilities,” said Itaru Nakamura, the commissioner general of the agency, at a news conference.

The agency did not receive a report about the security detail for Abe made by Nara prefectural police.

Nakamura said, “There is no excuse for it.”

“I am deeply ashamed of myself as the head of the agency. I think I truly bear a heavy responsibility,” he said.

It was extremely rare for a commissioner general of the agency to admit fault in the police’s handling of an individual matter.

The team is expected to draft a plan to strengthen police security and protection measures by the end of August.