Italian outcry as MP Pozzolo’s gun wounds man at New Year’s Eve party

Emanuele Pozzolo
Image caption,Emanuele Pozzolo is a member of Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party

By Ido Vock

BBC News

A shot that lightly wounded a man at a New Year’s Eve party has prompted an angry political response after it emerged it was fired from a gun owned by an Italian far-right MP.

Emanuele Pozzolo, a member of Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, admitted bringing the gun but denied firing the shot.

A 31-year-old man was treated in hospital for light wounds to his leg.

The centre-left opposition leader has called on Ms Meloni to take action.

“These incompetents are a danger to the security of those around them, let alone to national security,” said Elly Schlein of the Democratic Party.

Local prosecutors have opened an investigation into the shooting after the MP’s gun fired at a party in the small town of Rosazza in the northern Piedmont region.

Party colleague Andrea Delmastro, who is a junior justice minister, was taking part in the celebration and the man wounded in the incident was a son-in-law of a member of his security team.

Mr Pozzolo, 38, has a house in Rosazza and is said to have arrived some time after 01:00 (00:00 GMT) after spending New Year’s Eve with his family.

At one point, Mr Pozzolo appears to have shown guests his .22 calibre mini-revolver, one of the smallest commercially available, which he has a license to own. The weapon was reportedly passed between guests before going off and hitting one of them in the leg.

Andrea Delmastro told the Corriere della Sera newspaper he was not aware that his party colleague had a gun in his pocket and he had stepped outside the house when it went off.

“Those who were there told me he had pulled out the weapon, a gun as big as a cigarette lighter, to show it. Then the shot went off accidentally.” He also told La Repubblica newspaper he was “terrified of weapons”.

The 31-year-old victim was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Ponderano and discharged later on New Year’s Day.

“I confirm the shot was fired accidentally but I wasn’t the one who fired it,” Mr Pozzolo is quoted as saying.

Prime Minister Meloni has not yet reacted to the incident, but her party put out a statement stressing that the incident had no “political relevance”. Local authorities would investigated what had happened but it was “absurd” to turn it into a political attack.

The party said it would take appropriate action if Mr Pozzolo had done anything untoward.

However, political opponents lined up to criticise Brothers of Italy (FdI). Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Meloni’s party “is not a ruling class: they’re inadequate, incompetent… and they are dangerous, first and foremost to themselves”.

Mr Pozzolo was a member of Matteo Salvini’s League before joining FdI. He was elected as an MP in 2022, when the party won the general election.

He called Covid-19 vaccines “experimental” and opposed Italy’s “Green Pass” system, which required proof of immunisation for access to certain venues.

Elsewhere, a 55-year-old woman was shot and killed at a New Year’s Eve celebration near Naples. A man has been arrested in connection with the death.

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