Six foreign nationals were shot and wounded on Saturday when a gunman opened fire on African migrants during a shooting spree in the central Italian city of Macerata.
The drive-by shootings began at around 11:00 am and lasted for two hours, during which time six people, all African, were shot in different locations around the city. The local offices the ruling Democratic party were also targeted by the gunman.
The suspect, named as Luca Traini, gave himself up for arrest on the steps of the city’s monument to the dead. After stopping his car in front of the monument, Traini draped himself in the Italian flag and gave a fascist salute, shouting « Viva Italia! » according to the Italian press.
Luca Traini ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the anti-immigration Northern League party in regional elections last year.
« Someone who shoots is a delinquent, regardless of the colour of their skin, » said the Northern League leader, Matteo Salvini, in reaction to news of the event which comes in the middle of the middle of campaigning for the legislative elections March 4. Salvini also took the opportunity to denounce what he called the migrant “invasion” of Italy.
Racial tensions have been high in the city since the arrest of a Nigerian immigrant suspected of the brutal murder of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro whose dismembered body was found in two suitcases last week. Mastropietro’s killing has been seized upon by far-right parties vying for seats in Italy’s upcoming election to call for an end to immigration.
Polls indicate that a coalition of right-wing parties including the Northern League look set to win the most seats but fall short of a majority, while the anti-establishment Five Star movement are on course to win the highest number of votes for a single party.