There was death on the streets of the Italian Renaissance city of Florence on Tuesday after two African street sellers were gunned down at lunch time in what police are treating as a racist killing.
One man was also seriously injured in the attack in the crowded Dalmazia square where the gunman was reported to have parked his car before starting his shooting rampage. Police say the 37-year-old injured man will probably remain paralysed for the rest of his life.
Officials have named the killer as 50-year-old, Gianluca Casseri who, two hours after the shootings, opened fire again with a .357 Magnum in the busy San Lorenzo market. Two people were wounded before the gunman killed himself.
The shooting sparked tension among the African community who marched to the office of the prefect – a government representative – to demand justice. The two dead men were Senegalese. Many residents from Florence joined the march.
“We ask for a bit of attention and for justice, because this kind of thing should not happen. We are here to integrate into society, we don’t want to just be discarded,” explained one of the protesters.
Officials said they believed Casseri was a right-wing extremist. A statement from the president’s office condemned all forms of, “racist violence and xenophobia”, calling the attack on foreign workers, “barbarous”.