May 27 (UPI) -- Japanese police arrested a suspect Wednesday they say was the arsonist who set fire to an animation studio last summer and killed three dozen people.
Authorities said they waited for 10 months to make the arrest so suspect Shinji Aoba could recover from severe burns he received from the blaze.
Police took Aoba, 42, into a Kyoto police station on a stretcher and charged him with numerous counts of murder and arson in connection with the July 2019 fire. Police say he used two containers of gasoline to ignite the flames at the front door to the Kyoto animation studio.
Police initially wanted to arrest Aoba in January but his unstable condition and coronavirus concerns delayed the transfer.
"We will now focus on the suspect's interrogation and pursue our investigation in order to fully examine the crime," Kyoto Police Investigator Toshiyuki Kawase told reporters Wednesday.
The fire was Japan's deadliest since 44 people died in Tokyo's Kabukicho entertainment district in 2001.
"We have nothing to say to the suspect," Kyoto Animation said in a statement. "Our fellow workers whose lives were lost will never come back and the wounds of our colleagues will never be healed."
Many of those who died in the fire were young professionals in their 20s and 30s. The studio opened in 1981.