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Young American suspected of killing Rome policeman

Published: Updated:

A young American tourist confessed overnight to the murder of an Italian policeman probing a theft at a tony neighborhood near the Vatican, Italian media said Saturday.

Hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called for “hard labor for life ... for these bastards” amid first reports the suspects were North African.

“The suspects were filmed by surveillance cameras, they will not evade us,” he added Friday.

On the night of Thursday to Friday, Mario Rega Cerciello, a 35-year-old policeman who had just returned from his honeymoon, was stabbed to death while investigating the theft of a rucksack.

One of the two suspects had confessed to the stabbing, local media said, quoting police.

The duo were American, both aged 19, and had stolen the rucksack from a drug dealer who had sold them aspirin which he passed off as cocaine.

The dealer had called the police to report the theft and Cerciello was knifed when he went to investigate.

The two Americans have been placed in custody for aggravated homicide and attempted extortion but are yet to be formally charged.

The murder sparked an outpouring of grief in Italy. The suspects were initially described by local media as North Africans, which prompted a slew of hate messages on social media.