Gunman arrested after 'racially motivated' shooting in Italian town of Macerata

BREAKING NEWS: Four people are injured as gunman opens fire from a car in Italy

A man opened fire on passersby in the city of Macerata, central Italian, on Saturday, local media reported. He was said to have been wearing an Italian flag draped over his shoulder as he was arrested.

According to Macerata police, the shootings on Saturday morning were carried out in different parts of the town, including near the train station, leading to the injuries of six people, mostly African migrants.

Mayor Romano Carancini appealed for calm and said: "All of you stay in the house until further notice, there is a man armed in a auto shooting in the city, we stopped the public transport, we asked the schools to keep the children inside until further notice".

Residents had been told to stay inside during the shooting and public transport was halted. They are running against Matteo Renzi's much-splintered centre-left Democratic Party and the populist 5-Star Movement.

The man arrested had removed some clothing before waiting for police to take him down.

Police detained a 28-year-old Italian man in connection with the violence.

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The shootings took place just days after the amputated body of a young Italian woman was discovered concealed in two suitcases near Macerata.

Police confirmed in a tweet that "the wounded persons were of foreign nationality", adding that the "presumed author of the attack is Italian".

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has temporarily suspended campaigning for the March 4 general election over the shootings. "We were shocked by what happened to Pamela, but this does not justify hatred and feeding hatred", Carancini told RAI.

Magistrates say witnesses saw the Nigerian suspect carrying the suitcases that were later found to contain the teenager's body. "We must stop this spiral of hate and violence", said Pietro Grasso, who is the head of the Free and Equal party.

He posted to Facebook earlier this week of the Nigerian suspect, "What was this worm still doing in Italy?". Polls show a center-right bloc that includes the Northern League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia could win the most seats but would not be able to form a working majority.

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