A three-year-old girl is in a critical condition after being caught in the crossfire of a shooting in Naples, in a case which has provoked outrage and demonstrations in the southern Italian city.
The little girl, called Noemi, was accidentally shot in the chest when an unidentified man fired six bullets into his intended target, a 31-year-old man with a criminal record who was sitting at a bar.
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The girl’s grandmother was also wounded in the shooting.
It was initially thought that the shooting was a feud between members of the local Camorra mafia but police now believe it may have been a personal vendetta, local newspaper Il Mattino reported on Monday.
The man who was shot, Salvatore Nurcaro, was badly wounded and is also in a critical condition in hospital.
The shooting, which happened on Friday, prompted a protest on Sunday, with crowds praying for the recovery of the child and decrying the gun culture that has long given Naples a bad reputation.
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Hundreds of people gathered in a piazza close to where the shooting occurred, with banners reading “Noemi, don’t give up, Naples is fighting for you” and “Let’s disarm Naples.”
The bullet that hit the child passed through one of her lungs and lodged in her ribs, doctors said.
It was the kind of wound normally seen in a “war zone”, said Giovanni Gaglione, the pediatric surgeon who operated on the child.
Italian media published security camera footage which showed the gunman step over the wounded child twice as he carried out the hit.
A shocked waiter then notices the little girl on the pavement and picks her up.
Police are hunting for the gunman, who was dressed in black and wearing a motorcycle helmet.