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  • Wreaths at the funeral of Mario Cerciello Rega in Somma Vesuviana, Italy, July 29, 2019.

    Wreaths at the funeral of Mario Cerciello Rega in Somma Vesuviana, Italy, July 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 July 2019

The Italian Carabinieri was attacked with a knife as he was trying to arrest those who he thought were suspects of stealing a backpack.

The people of the town of Somma Vesuvius, Italy, held Monday a funeral to remember Mario Cerciello Rega, a 35-year-old military policeman who was stabbed to death by a U.S. teenager in an affluent Rome neighborhood on July 26.

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The officer and his partner were following a clue that proved false as they would later discover. According to it, two Maghreb had stolen a backpack from Sergio Brugiatelli, an Italian who called the police to denounce that thieves were asking him for 100 euros to recover his belongings.

Upon arriving at the site where the backpack was supposed to be exchanged for money, Cerciello Rega and his partner identified themselves as police and approached two young men, one of whom took out a 7-inch blade and attacked and attacked the officer who died bleeding.

"It was a quick aggression. In the area there were four nearby patrols, not visible so as not to jeopardize the operation, said the deceased's partner, Andrea Varriale.

On Saturday, Italian authorities arrested the 19-year-old Elder Finnegan Lee and the 18-year-old Christian Natale Hjorth, two U.S. citizens who were staying at a four-star hotel in Rome.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

According to Italian investigators, Finnegan Lee, who confessed to being the author of the homicide, said that he acted out of fear.

This case made international noise after a photo emerged of Natale-Hjorth in police custody. In it, the U.S. citizen appeared handcuffed with his hands behind his back and with a blindfold, which brought doubts about the investigation process carried out by the Italian authorities.

"The military policeman who decided to blindfold him—an illegal practice in Italy—tried to explain their actions by saying they wanted to prevent the suspect from seeing the contents of computer monitors and confidential documents," Il manifesto reported and added that "the top brass of the Carabinieri immediately distanced themselves from what had happened and launched an internal investigation."

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