Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been shot Friday morning while delivering a speech on a street in the city of Nara, western Japan, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

A bleeding Abe was taken to hospital in an unconscious state; report says he was in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest.

The incident occurred around 11.30 am (8.30 am IST). Abe was making a campaign speech on a street ahead of Sunday’s House of Councillors election when he was shot.

The sound of a gunshot was heard at the time. An NHK reporter on the scene said two consecutive bangs were heard during Abe’s speech. It is reported that the attacker shot him from behind while Abe was speaking. His security personnel were seen rushing to his aid, in videos and pictures captured. A male suspect has been detained.

Japanese media house Kyodo said the former PM was unconscious and appeared to be in cardio respiratory arrest.

The 67-year-old was not showing any vital signs in hospital, news agency AFP said, quoting the Japanese media.

The country’s chief cabinet secretary is expected to address the media around 0400 GMT (9.30 am IST), Reuters reported .