An Italian man confessed Tuesday to going a 90-minute shooting spree on Saturday morning, wounding six persons in an act of vengeance against migrants following the gruesome murder of a young Italian woman last week.
On Wednesday, police discovered the dismembered remains of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro in two suitcases left by the side of the road outside the central Italian town of Macerata. Not long afterward, they arrested Innocent Oseghale, a 29-year-old Nigerian immigrant, charging him with her murder.
A taxi driver who drove Oseghale and his two suitcases to the spot where they were later found reported the incident to police, who were able to track him down. They later searched the man’s apartment and discovered blood-stained clothes, large kitchen knives, a small cleaver, and other items belonging to the murdered woman.
On taking inventory of the woman’s mutilated corpse, police further found that certain parts were missing, including the victim’s neck and a portion of the genital organs. They are now looking for a second Nigerian accomplice believed to have participated in the macabre murder.
At a court hearing on Tuesday, 28-year-old Luca Traini confessed to carrying out Saturday’s shootings in revenge for the murder. He said that his only regret after his hour-and-a-half drive around Macerata shooting at dark-skinned pedestrians was that one of his victims had been a woman. All six of those injured are expected to survive.
“I was in the car, I wanted to go to the gym, I turned on the radio and I heard for the umpteenth time the story of Pamela. I felt an irresistible impulse: I returned home, opened the safe and took out my gun. Then I went out to hit them all,” he said.
According to law enforcement officials, Traini fired some 30 shots out the window of his black Alfa Romeo as he drove about the city. The man is unemployed, having failed in a run for local office, and had been kicked out of his gym last year, reportedly for his “fascist views.”
Anti-immigrant sentiment is running quite high in Italy in the lead-up to March 4 national elections, following on years of virtually unchecked immigration, mostly from northern Africa. Over 620,000 migrants have entered Italy since 2013 and the majority are still in the country, ever since France, Switzerland and Austria shut down their borders with Italy to prevent migrants from streaming north.
A 2016 study found a direct correlation between the number of migrants entering Italy and the rise in the crime rate, with an increase of 0.4 percent in the crime rate for each increase of 1 percent in the number of immigrants in a given area.
The statistical analysis conducted by the Confcommercio group revealed that among Italian citizens there are 4.3 convicted criminals per 1000, while among legal immigrants the rate is nearly double, at 8.5 criminals per 1000. More striking still, among illegal immigrants the crime rate soars to more than 50 percent (148 criminals out of every 247 persons).
One of the more troubling discoveries of the study was that for the first time, the crime rate in the north of Italy, which has the highest concentration of immigrants and asylum seekers, was surpassing that of the south.
Macerata, in the east central Italian region of Le Marche, is one of many areas attracting immigrants, and some ten percent of the city’s population of 43,000 is foreign-born. Government-run migrant welcome centers currently house more than 350 recent arrivals.
Recent voter polls place the newly formed center-right coalition in the leading position for Italy’s March elections, followed by the populist Five-Star Movement, with the center-left Democratic Party (PD) trailing a fair distance behind. The center-right coalition came from a fusion of the conservative, anti-immigrant League (formerly the Northern League), Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italy and the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia.
League leader Matteo Salvini was outraged after last Wednesday’s shooting, noting that the killer “wasn’t fleeing war, he brought war to Italy.” He has promised to seal Italy’s borders for a year if elected, as well as deporting 150,000 immigrants.
Among his promises, Salvini has insisted that during his first year in office, Italy would take in no new migrants. “We have to dispose of a backlog of half a million illegal immigrants,” said the aspiring prime minister. “The first task is to seal the borders, from the Alps to Sicily. Enough, do not pass, stop.”
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