An Italian policeman has been hailed a hero after shooting dead the Berlin attack suspect just nine months after starting work as a police officer.
Luca Scata, originally from Sicily, was three months into his probation period in Milan when he shot Tunisian national Anis Amri during a gun battle in the early hours of Friday morning.
He and his colleague Cristian Movio were reportedly patrolling in Sesto San Giovanni, where it was tipped the suspect could be, at 3am local time when they stopped a man matching Amri’s description and asked him to show his ID documents.
At that point, “without hesitating”, the terror suspect took a pistol out of his rucksack and began shooting at the police, according to Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti.
“The patrol immediately responded to the shooting. A police officer was injured but fortunately he is recovering in hospital,” Mr Minniti told a press conference.
“Investigations have revealed that the person killed, without any shadow of a doubt, is Anis Amri.” Mr Movio is currently recovering from minor injuries in hospital.
Mr Minniti said the two officers had done an “exceptional service to the community” by shooting the suspect, who he described as “the most wanted man in Europe”.
“These two extraordinary men, of a very young age, simply doing their duty, have done an exceptional service to the community,” he said.
“This was the most wanted man in Europe and we immediately identified him and neutralised him. This means our security is working well.
“Italy is grateful to them. Thanks to people like them, Italians will have an even happier Christmas.”
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni also publicly thanked the two men, tweeting: “Thanks to Cristian Movio and Luke Scata, two young officers who do honour to all law enforcement,” while the Berlin Police wrote: “Thank you and speedy recovery to the wounded colleagues.”
Since the news broke, a Facebook page set up in Mr Scata’s name has been flooded with messages from Italians and other social media users from across Europe, thanking him and Mr Movio for their bravery.
One wrote: “You were great! You and Cristian Movia are the image of Italy we would like”, while another said: “You're just a boy... you’ve risked your life to make that of others more secure, for a salary that of course doesn't reward the sacrifices.
“To do this under these conditions, it just takes a great sense of duty. Thank you.”
Meanwhile another Facebook user, from the UK, said: “From the UK thanks to two brave officers keeping the public safe”.
Mr Scata shot Amri in a square near Sesto San Giovanni railway station, Il Giornale reported, suggesting he had recently arrived.
The reason for Amri's arrival in Italy was unknown and there was speculation he may have been attempting to reach an Islamist network who could give him cover.
Investigations by counter-terror police in Milan have shown the 22 calibre pistol Amri used to shoot officers was likely the same gun used to kill the driver of the lorry that ploughed into the German Christmas market.
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