A man charged with fatally shooting a doctor and attacking medical staff who visited his home near Tokyo last year denied on Thursday that he had intended to kill them.

Hiroshi Watanabe, 67, said during his first hearing at Saitama District Court that he had "never intended at all" to murder anyone, claiming instead that he had aimed at the doctor's right knee but his shot went off target.

The attack, which took place on Jan. 27, 2022, resulted in an 11-hour standoff with police at his home in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture. He was eventually arrested after the police stormed the building.

File photo taken in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture, in February 2022 shows the house of Hiroshi Watanabe, who is charged with fatally shooting a doctor and attacking medical staff visiting his home. (Kyodo)

According to the indictment, Watanabe shot the doctor, Junichi Suzuki, 44, and a physiotherapist in his 40s, with a hunting gun and sprayed another medical worker with tear gas. The physiotherapist sustained severe injuries.

Prosecutors said in their opening statements that the victims were among seven people that Watanabe had summoned to his home on the night of Jan. 27, requesting they come to express their condolences over the death of his mother the previous day. The victims were working at a clinic responsible for providing home medical care for his mother.

Watanabe then shot at two of them after Suzuki refused to resuscitate his mother as he believed the medical staff were to blame his mother's death, whom he had nursed for a long time, the prosecutors said.

The suspect's defense team said that the defendant "did not intend to harm" the victims and that the shots fired were by mistake, or done as a warning. The team said he was under the influence of heavy amounts of sleeping pills and was also in shock following his mother's death.

After the arrest, the suspect was quoted by investigative sources as saying he wanted to take his own life, and had decided to kill not just himself but also the doctor and others working at the clinic.

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