Italian media reported on Friday that two US citizens have been placed in custody in connection to the fatal stabbing of a Carabinieri police officer in Rome.
The overnight murder of 35-year-old Mario Cerciello Rega, in the central Prati district near the Vatican, has caused nationwide consternation.
According to the ANSA and Adnkronos news agencies, two US men were kept in custody after being taken in for questioning at Carabinieri headquarters.
Police earlier described the killer as probably an African citizen.
According to investigative sources quoted by ANSA and Adnkronos, Rega and other officers were involved in a plain clothes operation against two muggers.
The muggers stole a mobile phone and a wallet from a man who was later told he could have his belongings back in return for 100 euros (111 dollars).
The man reported the crime to the police, and agreed on a meeting point with the thieves, the Carabinieri showed up instead, and were attacked with a knife.
Earlier on Friday, Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, tweeted that a `manhunt’ was on in the capital to arrest the culprit, which he called a “bastard.”
“I am sure that they will catch him, and that he will pay in full for his violence with forced labour in jail as long as he lives,’’ the far-right politician tweeted.
In Italy, there are no provisions for forced labour in prison.
Rega had married just over a month ago, the Carabinieri wrote on Facebook, expressing `the deepest sorrow for a loss that affects all 110,000 Carabinieri.’