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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: IT Recruitment Consultant

£22500 - £30000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking for experie...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Handyman

£16575 - £18785 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Dundee based butchers requ...

Recruitment Genius: Confectionery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To effectively manage a team which is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Workshop Deputy & Production Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A rare and exciting role has arisen within thi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat