American teenagers arrested for murdering Italian police officers accused each other when they were first interrogated by the police
Two American teenagers suspected of killing an Italian police officer would point at each other when they were first interrogated by investigators.
Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, and Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, former high school classmates from Mill Valley, California, were arrested for the death of Deputy Brigadier General Mario Cerciello Rega on Friday in Rome.
An arrest warrant released on Sunday claims that when the suspects were questioned separately by the police, they initially accused each other of carrying out the fatal stabbing.
However, investigators determined that Elder was the one responsible after recognizing the gun, seizing a large knife from his hotel room, and confirming that it was used to kill Cerciello Rega, the order said.
The suspects were arrested hours after Cerciello Rega, a member of the famous Italian paramilitary police Carabinieri, was found dead with eight stab wounds near the Tiber River in Rome.
Allegedly they confessed their involvement in interrogation.
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Finnegan Lee Elder (left) and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth (right), two American teenagers suspected of murdering Italian police officer Mario Cerciello Rega in Rome on Friday, would point to each other when they were first interrogated by investigators . The suspects are seen in the hotel room where they were arrested hours after the murder
Detectives say that Elder and Natale-Hjorth had tried to buy drugs outside the hostel where they were staying when someone sold them a fake.
They would then have robbed a man of his backpack and demanded that they give them & # 39; 100 euros and 1 gram of cocaine & # 39; would pay to get his property back. The man agreed, but immediately contacted the police about the extortion attempt, officials said.
The victim of the robbery is not supposed to be the man who reportedly sold the fake drugs for teenagers, and it remains unclear whether he was affiliated with the dealer.
Cerciello Rega and his partner were both civilians when they responded to the complaint and confronted the suspects and a fight arose.
Cerciello Rega, member of the famous Italian paramilitary police Carabinieri, was found dead around 3 o'clock Friday with eight stab wounds at the Tiber River in Rome
Elder allegedly stabbed Cerciello Rega eight times, while Natale-Hjorth allegedly repeatedly hit the partner, according to a police report.
The detention order said Natale-Hjorth, who can understand Italian, confirmed that Cerciello Rega identified himself as a Carabinieri officer, while elder, who does not speak the language, denied knowing who the officer was.
The Carabinieri said that surveillance cameras & witnesses helped them identify and find the Americans.
While the police searched their hotel room, the investigators found a long knife hidden in the lowered ceiling of the room. The police also found that clothing was worn during the attack.
The Carabinieri statement said that during their interrogation and faced with & # 39; hard evidence & # 39 ;, & # 39;
Both suspects may be confronted with murder and are also being investigated for attempted extortion.
Lawyer Francesco Codini said his client Elder & # 39; worn & # 39; was after he exercised his right not to answer questions during a hearing.
Natale-Hjorth's lawyer did not speak to reporters who waited outside prison after the hearing.
Italian state radio reported Sunday that the judge ruled that the Americans remain in prison while the investigation continues.
Suspects who are considered to be a flight risk are often not released. The Italian police said the two teenagers were preparing to leave Italy later on Friday.
The authorities swore that justice would be done.
& # 39; Hoping that our poor Carabiniere's murderer never comes out of jail, I remind do-gooders that in the United States, who is risking the death penalty, & # 39; tweet Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, who is also responsible for the state police, another national Italian police. & # 39; I am not saying that we will comment on that, but yes on a life in prison (in labor, of course). & # 39;
On Sunday a photo of Natale-Hjorth appeared, handcuffed with a scarf in front of his eyes in a police station. Provincial Cmdr Francesco Gargaro said the suspect & # 39; a few minutes, four or five & # 39; was blindfolded just before he was questioned about the fatal stabbing
On Sunday a photo of Natale-Hjorth arose with a scarf in front of his eyes in a police station.
Provincial Cmdr Francesco Gargaro said the suspect & # 39; for a few minutes, four or five & # 39; was blindfolded on Friday just before he was questioned about the fatal stabbing.
Italian police say they have now launched an investigation into the incident with a spokesperson confirming: & # 39; We are dissociating ourselves with this kind of behavior and investigating who was responsible. & # 39;
Blinding a suspect & # 39; is illegal. It is not allowed, & Gargaro said. The officer who put on the blindfold committed a & # 39; error & # 39; but did this to prevent Natale-Hjorth from seeing documents related to the investigation, the commander said.
The 18-year-old was questioned by police and prosecutors without a lawyer since he was not formally detained as a suspect and Italian law does not allow the presence of a lawyer at that stage, the commander said.
The officer was transferred to another unit, Gargaro said. The Carabinieri were also investigating who took the photo and how it was leaked. Lawyers for the two Americans were not immediately available for comment.
Researchers determined that elder (left) was responsible for stabbing after he recognized the murder weapon as his own. While Elder Cerciello attacked Rega, Natale-Hjorth (right) allegedly repeatedly hit the officer's partner
The assassination of Cerebiello Rega made international headlines and sent shock waves all the way to Mill & # 39; s birthplace Mill Valley, a rich suburb 10 miles north of San Francisco en route to the towering sequoia & # 39; s in Muir Woods National Par.
The city with 14,000 inhabitants is a desirable destination for families who are attracted to the safe, green neighborhoods and renowned public schools.
The two boys graduated from Tamalpais High School in 2018 and were reportedly enrolled at Santa Barbara City College.
Natale-Hjorth invited an elder to Italy, where he has family and comes to visit every summer.
Elder & # 39; s family said they were & # 39; shocked and appalled & # 39; are on the news of his arrest, while many of the teen's neighbors say they are not shocked. Two told KPIX5 how elder had been ill for their home after getting drunk several times.
Graduate Matt Kearney told ABC7 from Natale-Hjorth: & # 39; I always saw him as a little vague, but nothing bad. & # 39;
Another classmate, who did not want to be mentioned, said: & # 39; If Gabe uses drugs, he is crazy. He has a lot of anger.
& # 39; He is known here as a drug dealer. I feel like he thinks he can get away with anything. He got away with so many problems in Marin. & # 39;
Former classmate Tommy Flynn said about Natale-Hjorth: & I have always known that he is a bad guy. He would come up with stories about activities that you would not want your children to participate in. He is a little known in the city as a delinquent character. & # 39;
But Elder Gloria Keeley said: & I have known Finn from birth and am in shock. He is one of the nicest neighbors. My vision of Finn, I don't see him doing that. & # 39;
& # 39; We are shocked and appalled about the reported events, but we have very little independent information about these events & # 39 ;, said the elder's family in a statement. & # 39; We have not had any communication with our son. & # 39;
The family expressed its condolences to the policeman's family and & # 39; all affected by this tragedy & # 39 ;.
In a house in the name of Natale-Hjorth, a young man who opened the door screamed & # 39; No! & # 39; when an Associated Press reporter asked her to speak.
Hundreds of people turned out to honor Cerciello Rega on Sunday outside a chapel in Rome
The new wife of the killed officer, Rosa Maria, wept and laid her hands on his coffin when it was carried into the church on Sunday
A funeral will take place on Monday in the same chapel where Rosa Maria married Cerciello Rega on 19 June in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana. Forty-three days later, the newly-married woman returns to the church as a widow
Hundreds of people appeared to honor Cerciello Rega when his body was taken to a chapel in central Rome to be able to lie on Sunday.
The new wife of the killed officer, Rosa Maria, wept and laid her hands on his coffin while it was being carried inside.
A funeral will take place on Monday in the same chapel where she married Cerciello Rega on 19 June in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana.
Forty-three days later, Rosa Maria returned to the church as a widow.
Mayor Salvatore Di Sarno of Somma Vesuviana proclaimed a & # 39; day of mourning & # 39; for the city near Naples.
Cerciello Rega, 35, had just returned to service after his honeymoon in Madagascar when he was stabbed.
Photos of the officer wearing his uniform for his wedding and showing off his wedding ring as he sat next to his shining bride dominated the front pages of many Italian newspapers on Saturday.
Flowers, mementos and letters of condolence have gathered at an improvised monument outside the Carabinieri headquarters. Station commander Sandro Ottaviani told reporters that Cerciello Rega was a beloved member of the armed forces who always thought of his neighbors, both during the service and when he was not wearing the uniform.
& # 39; He used to make pilgrimages to Lourdes and Loreto to help the suffering people every week, & # 39; said Ottaviani, referring to two major Catholic places of pilgrimage. & # 39; Without telling anyone, he volunteered. Not only a brave Carabinieri dies, but a great man. & # 39;
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called his death a & # 39; deep wound to the state & # 39; and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini praised the officer as a & # 39; hero & # 39 ;.
Photos by Cerciello Rega wearing his uniform at his wedding and showing off his wedding ring as he sat next to his shining bride dominated the front pages of many Italian newspapers
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