A U.S. Air Force member stationed at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo died of stab wounds in the neck and abdomen in what appears to be the grim conclusion of a domestic dispute with a Japanese woman.
Master Sgt. Nicholas Vollweiler, 35, was found unconscious in his Tachikawa apartment on Friday before succumbing to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
Aria Saito, 27, admitted to stabbing Vollweiler because he wanted to break up with her, according to Japan Today. The dispute started days prior.
“I used a knife to slash the guy I was dating in the right side of his neck,” Saito told police. “Because I did not want to break up, I killed him and I also wanted to die.”
Vollweiler, a native of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania was assigned to the 374th Security Forces Squadron. His cousin, Lou Romeo, described him as a “hero.”
“To me he’s a hero. The first day he put on that uniform, he knew what he wanted to do,” Romeo told WNEP. “I regret not facing him one-on-one and looking in his eye and shaking his hand and saying thank you for serving and protecting us.”
Vollweiler’s friends reportedly subdued Saito and called emergency services after the crime.
The Japanese woman was arrested on the scene and charged with attempted murder, which authorities expect to upgrade to murder, according to the Japan Times.
The Yokota Air Base has been mourning Vollweiler’s demise.
“Master Sgt. Vollweiler was a truly valued Airman of Team Yokota and he will be dearly missed by our community,” Col. Otis Jones, 374th Airlift Wing commander, said in a statement. “His family, friends, fellow defenders, and all of the Yokota community are in our prayers during this heartbreaking time.”
The Air Force said that it will continue to work with the Japanese National Police in investigating Vollweiler’s death.