Police shot by unemployed man who had 'lost everything' as Italy's new government is sworn in

Unemployed gunman injures two officers  and a pregnant woman outside PM’s office

Rome

An unemployed man who had ‘“lost everything” today opened fired outside the Italian Prime Minister’s office in central Rome, injuring two police officers and a pregnant woman.

Police arrested the attacker as he tried to flee the scene outside Palazzo Chigi at the same time as the Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, and his new cabinet were being sworn in half a mile away at the President’s palace.

One of the injured Carabinieri officers was shot in the leg and the passer-by suffered a slight injury from a ricochet. The second police officer, a 50-year-old brigadier who was shot in the neck, was said to be in a serious but not life-threatening condition tonight.

Rome’s public prosecutor, Pierfilippo Laviani, said after interviewing the man that he had wanted to “shoot politicians”. 

“He has confessed everything. He doesn’t seem like a mentally unbalanced person. He was a man full of problems. He lost his job, he’d lost everything,” he said.

The new deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, said after the swearing-in ceremony that the shooting was a “tragic and criminal act”, and an “isolated incident by unemployed man”. Mr Alfano said the man “showed immediately afterwards the intention to kill himself but it appears he was unable to do so because the gun was empty”.

The gunman was named as Luigi Preiti, a 49-year-old originally from the southern Italian town of Rosarno. State TV reported one police officer at the scene as saying the arrested man had shouted: “I’m sorry. Shoot me now.”

The gunman’s brother, Arcangelo Preiti, was quoted in the Italian press denying suggestions the attacker had mental health problems: “No, it’s not true. My brother doesn’t have any problems. Until this morning he was lucid and resourceful.”

The arrested man’s employment status will have significant resonance for Rome’s new government.  Joblessness is soaring in recession-mired Italy, and a series of suicides linked to the economic crisis have hit the headlines in recent months. Creating economic growth – and jobs – will be a key priority for the incoming government. 

This morning, at the President of State’s office, the outgoing caretaker premier Mario Monti handed over the symbolic bell to the incoming Prime Minister Enrico Letta, as Italy passed from one non-elected administration to another. 

Mr Letta, 46, a moderate from the centre-left Democratic Party, was asked to form a government by President Giorgio Napolitano after two months of parliamentary deadlock. He surprised many this weekend by naming a young cabinet with seven women and the first black minister in Italy’s history, the Congolese-born medic Cécile Kyenge, who is the new Minister for Integration.

Later this week his government is likely to face the confidence vote it needs to pass to begin parliamentary business. General support from the centre-left and centre-right blocs should ensure it wins this vote.

But, despite murmurs of approval at the selection of a young and politically moderate team, Mr Letta must now spell out how his unlikely coalition will work together to reform the country’s corrupt and sclerotic institutions and drag Italy out of its downward economic spiral.

He has already indicated he also wants to move away from the austerity imposed by his predecessor Mr Monti, although it’s not clear how much the cabinet will agree on economic policy.

The conservative ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, who will wield major influence on the new government from behind the scenes, has frequently criticised the austerity measures demanded by Europe, indicating that a change in economic policy is likely. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo has effectively been sidelined in parliament, at least for now, after insisting it would not work with the traditional political parties.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'