A car driven by a U.S. Marine ran onto a sidewalk and killed three Okinawa residents on their way home from church Sunday, police said. The driver and an American passenger were injured.
Sentiment against the U.S. military presence on Okinawa has been running high on the southern Japanese island following the rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl in September.
In a trial now under way, one U.S. serviceman has admitted to the rape and two others have acknowledged assisting in the girl’s abduction.
Okinawa Police spokesman Tadashi Kohagura said a car driven by Lori A. Padilla, 20, veered on to a sidewalk in Chatan, about 18 miles north of Naha, Okinawa’s capital.
He identified the dead as Rojita Kinjo, 36, and her daughters, Mitsuko, 10, and Mariko, 1.
The car went another 30 yards and hit a footbridge, injuring Padilla and a passenger, Carrie Smith, 23, both Marines stationed at the Futemma base near Chatan, Kohagura said.