Flowers are left where Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed to death early Friday. Picture: AP
Flowers are left where Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed to death early Friday. Picture: AP

Teen tourists stab cop to death

TWO 19-year-old American tourists have confessed to killing an Italian policeman in central Rome on Friday.

The New York Post reported that carabinieri paramilitary officer Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed eight times at about 3am while investigating a reported robbery in Rome's Prati neighbourhood, according to Italian state media.

 

Italian Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, was stabbed to death in Rome early Friday. Picture: Supplied
Italian Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, was stabbed to death in Rome early Friday. Picture: Supplied

Rega was responding to the supposed meet-up spot where 19-year-old US tourists Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Christian Natale Hjorth, both from San Francisco, were to return a bag and phone they had earlier swiped from a man who had pointed them in the direction of a drug dealer, according to The New York Times.

According to a military police spokesman, the Americans said that they drugs they bought weren't real, so they sought out the dealer to get their €100 ($A162) back. When they couldn't find him, they returned to the first man and stole his property.

Surveillance footage from the alleged robbery shows the Americans running away with the bag.

 

Francesco Codini, lawyer of Finnegan Lee Elder, one of the American teens accused of killing an Italian police officer. Picture: AP
Francesco Codini, lawyer of Finnegan Lee Elder, one of the American teens accused of killing an Italian police officer. Picture: AP

Following the theft, the victim called the police and told them he'd arranged a meeting with the robbers to retrieve his belongings.

Once Rega and another plainclothes officer arrived at that location, a fight broke out and Rega was fatally stabbed.

Italian authorities said the Americans were staying at an upscale hotel near the stabbing, where they were apprehended when they were making plans to leave the country. "A knife of considerable size," believed to be the weapon used to kill Rega, was hidden behind a panel in the hotel room ceiling, along with clothes that the men had apparently worn during the attack, according to a statement from Italian police.

 

A woman leaves flowers in front of the Carabinieri station where Mario Cerciello Rega was based in Rome. Picture: AP
A woman leaves flowers in front of the Carabinieri station where Mario Cerciello Rega was based in Rome. Picture: AP

Rega had recently returned to work from his honeymoon. His funeral will be held on Monday close to Mount Vesuvius, in the same church he was married in less than two months ago.

 

This story first appeared in the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.