A 65-year-old man is believed to have killed himself with a hunting rifle Wednesday after first shooting his pet dog dead at his home in southwestern Japan, in a case in which police initially feared he had holed himself up and was a potential danger to other people.

The man shot himself in the head shortly after killing his dog at the apartment in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture early in the morning, when two gunshots were heard in quick succession.

The prefectural police, who initially treated the shooting around 6:10 a.m. as a case of an armed suspect holing himself up, deployed some 200 police officers around the building before finally entering it about seven and a half hours later at 1:40 p.m. after the man had not responded to any calls to his home and mobile phone.

They found his body on the bed in the bedroom.

The police said there were no hostages involved in the incident and no other people were injured.

After hearing a gunshot, the man's wife found her husband holding the rifle and the dog lying dead on the floor of their apartment. She immediately fled to a neighbor's apartment, and the neighbor called the police.

The wife was quoted by investigators as saying her husband was working at a real estate company after serving as a Self-Defense Forces member and had been distressed due to work-related concerns.

The nine-story apartment is located about 500 meters south of JR Jinnoharu Station. After receiving the initial report, the police advised residents within 150 meters of the apartment to evacuate to such places as a school gymnasium, while police and media helicopters circled above the building.

A woman in her 50s who knew the man said he was "affable" and that she could not believe what had happened. "I've never heard of any trouble concerning him and he loved his dog," she said.

Another female resident of the building, however, said that in the summer she had seen him making violent gestures after getting into a quarrel with someone in a nearby parking lot. "I had the impression that he was scary," she said.

According to a shooting range facility in adjacent Yamaguchi Prefecture, the man, who had a license for the hunting rifle, took lessons in clay pigeon shooting about 20 years ago and has since been visiting there from time to time to do the activity as a hobby.