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American teen accused of stabbing Italian cop to death went on a Gucci shopping spree days before

Police murder suspect Gabriel Natale-Hjorth spent hundreds of dollars at Gucci just days before becoming embroiled in a fatal fight with an undercover officer in Italy, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Natale-Hjorth, 18, bragged about his wealth by posing outside the label’s flag-ship store in Via dei Condotti, Rome, holding up two branded bags packed with designer clothes last week.

The teenager, from the Bay area of California, added the picture to a social media account – just days before his arrest on suspicion of involvement in the murder of undercover officer Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega last Friday.

Natale-Hjorth and friend Finnegan Elder, 19, are currently held in solitary confinement at the Regina Coeli holding jail in central Rome while detectives investigate the murder.

This social media photo shows Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, outside the Gucci Shop in Rome just days before being arrested for the stabbing death of an Italian officer 

While Elder was stabbing Cerciello Rega, Natale-Hjorth (above) allegedly punched the officer's partner repeatedly

Mario Cerciello Rega

Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, (left) told police he stabbed Italian police officer Mario Cerciello Rega (right) because he thought the officer was going to strangle him on Friday while he interrupted a drug deal gone wrong 

The young Americans will remain incarcerated for up to ten days before a judge decides whether to release them on bail, put them under house arrest or send them to prison until trial.

Natale-Howarth’s lawyer Emiliano Sisinni told DailyMail.com: ‘Gabriel is traumatized, he really is in distress. Not just because he was blind-folded and hand-cuffed in the police station but because of the whole situation of becoming involved in a murder investigation.

‘He is just a young man who has just turned 18.’

Elder was arrested along with his friend, Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, (pictured being interrogated in a leaked photo)

Elder was arrested along with his friend, Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, (pictured being interrogated in a leaked photo)

The lawyer added that his client had not yet been allowed to speak to his parents, but he was trying to persuade the Italian authorities to allow his a phone call.

Meanwhile well-wishers gathered the murder scene which has been transformed into a makeshift shrine to Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega. 

One of the American teenagers accused of killing Cerciello Rega has claimed that he stabbed him eight times with a seven-inch knife in self defense because he thought the cop was going to strangle him. 

According to police, Natale-Hjorth and Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, they stabbed him with an seven-inch knife when he interrupted a drug deal gone wrong.  

The two boys were trying to settle the score with a local drug dealer who had sold them crushed aspirin instead of cocaine. 

Earlier in the evening, they had been sent to the dealer by an unnamed man. When they realized they’d been sold aspirin instead of cocaine, they stole that man’s bag as ransom and demanded that he buy them a gram of cocaine. 

Instead, the man called police and Rega was one of the two responding officers.  

When he approached the American teens with his partner, they did not realize he was a cop and stabbed him. They also attacked his partner but he was no seriously hurt. 

At first, the two teenagers tried to blame each other for the stabbing but according to a judge’s order written on Saturday, Elder confessed that he carried out the killing. He said it was because he thought he was about to be strangled and that there were ‘pressure’ on his  neck.  

Judge Chiara Gallo dismissed the claim and said there was no evidence that the police officer had touched the boy’s neck. 

She said the two teens demonstrated a ‘total absence of self-control’ and should not be granted bail. 

Photos of Cerciello Rega wearing his uniform at his wedding and showing off his wedding band as he sat next to his beaming bride dominated the front pages of many Italian newspapers

Photos of Cerciello Rega wearing his uniform at his wedding and showing off his wedding band as he sat next to his beaming bride dominated the front pages of many Italian newspapers 

Hundreds of people turned out to honor Cerciello Rega outside a chapel in Rome on Sunday

Rega's coffin was seen being carried through a massive crowd of mourners in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana, near Naples, southern Italy, on Monday

Rega’s coffin was seen being carried through a massive crowd of mourners in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana, near Naples, southern Italy, on Monday 

Natale-Hjorth is accused of punching Rega’s partner repeatedly while the stabbing was happening.

The two Americans were then caught on CCTV fleeing the scene of the crime, before being traced to a nearby hotel where they were arrested.  

While searching their hotel room, police said investigators found a long knife hidden inside the room’s dropped ceiling.

Also found were clothes worn during the attack, police said.

Officers said Elder was identified as the stabber after saying that he recognized the murder weapon and that it belonged to him. 

The Carabinieri statement said the Americans during their interrogation and confronted with ‘hard evidence,’ had ‘confessed to their blame.’ 

Both suspects could face murder charges and are also being investigated for attempted extortion. 

Lawyer Francesco Codini said his client Elder was ‘worn out’ after exercising his right not to respond to questions during a detention hearing.

Natale-Hjorth’s lawyer didn’t speak to reporters waiting outside the jail after the hearing.  

Authorities vowed that justice would be done.

Finnegan Lee Elder, 19

Investigators determined that Elder (above) was the one responsible after he recognized the murder weapon as his own

Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, (left and right) told police he stabbed Italian police officer Rega  because he thought the officer was going to strangle him on Friday while he interrupted a drug deal gone wrong 

‘Hoping that the killer of our poor Carabiniere never gets out of prison, I remind do-gooders that in the United States, whoever kills risks the death penalty,’ tweeted Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also in charge of state police, another national Italian police corps. ‘I’m not saying we’ll get to that, but yes to a life in prison (in labor, obviously).’ 

On Sunday a photo emerged of Natale-Hjorth handcuffed with a scarf covering his eyes inside a police station. 

It has sparked an international debate over whether he is being treated properly.   

Provincial Cmdr Francesco Gargaro said the suspect was blindfolded ‘for a very few minutes, four or five’ 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 spokesman confirming: ‘We disassociate ourselves with this kind of behavior and we are investigating who was responsible.’

Blindfolding of a suspect ‘is illegal. It’s not allowed,’ Gargaro said. The officer who put the blindfold on committed a ‘mistake’ but did so to prevent Natale-Hjorth from seeing documents related to the investigation, the commander said. 

The 18-year-old was interrogated by police and prosecutors without a lawyer there since he hadn’t been formally detained as a suspect and Italian law doesn’t allow an attorney’s presence at that stage, the commander said.

Flowers and tributes left for Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello on the street he was killed in Rome

Flowers and tributes left for Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello on the street he was killed in Rome

'Brigadiere Mario: One of Us', reads a tribute outside of where Rega was killed

‘Brigadiere Mario: One of Us’, reads a tribute outside of where Rega was killed 

A woman looks on at the tribute where the 35-year-old was killed in Rome, Italy

A woman looks on at the tribute where the 35-year-old was killed in Rome, Italy 

A fellow police officer observes the flowers and tributes left for the fallen undercover officer

A fellow police officer observes the flowers and tributes left for the fallen undercover officer 

This is the corner where the fight took place and Officer Rega was stabbed eight times to death

This is the corner where the fight took place and Officer Rega was stabbed eight times to death 

The officer was transferred to a different 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.   

Cerebiello Rega’s murder made international headlines and sent shock waves all the way to the suspects’ hometown of Mill Valley, a wealthy suburb 10 miles north of San Francisco en route to the towering redwood trees in Muir Woods National Par.  

The town of 14,000 is a desirable destination for families who are drawn to its safe, leafy neighborhoods and reputable public schools. 

The two boys graduated from Tamalpais High School in 2018 and were reportedly enrolled at Santa Barbara City College. 

Natale-Hjorth invited Elder to Italy, where he has family and visits every summer. 

Elder’s family has said they are ‘shocked and dismayed’ at the news of his arrest, while many of the teen’s neighbors say they are not shocked. Two told KPIX5 how Elder had been sick in front of their home after getting drunk on several occasions.    

Graduate Matt Kearney told ABC7 of Natale-Hjorth: ‘I always saw him as a bit sketchy, but nothing this bad.’ 

Another classmate, who did not want to be named, said: ‘When Gabe is on drugs, he’s insane. He has a lot of anger.

‘He’s known around here as a drug dealer. I feel like he thinks he can get away with everything. He’s gotten away with so much trouble in Marin.’ 

Former classmate Tommy Flynn said of Natale-Hjorth: ‘I’ve kind of always known that he’s a bad guy. He would come up in stories of just like activities that you wouldn’t want your kids getting into. He’s kind of been known around town as a delinquent character.’

But Elder’s neighbor Gloria Keeley said: ‘I’ve known Finn since he was born and I’m in shock. He’s one of the nicest neighbors. My vision of Finn, I don’t see him doing that.’

‘We are shocked and dismayed at the events that have been reported, but we have very little independent information about these events,’ Elder’s family said in a statement. ‘We have not been able to have any communication with our son.’

Rega's wife Rosa Maria was comforted by a bishop as she followed the coffin after the funeral mass at Santa Croce church in Somma Vesuviana

Rega’s wife Rosa Maria was comforted by a bishop as she followed the coffin after the funeral mass at Santa Croce church in Somma Vesuviana

The slain officer’s new wife, Rosa Maria, wept and placed her hands on his coffin as it was carried into the church on Sunday

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is seen consoling Rosa Maria in the chapel where Cerciello Rega was laid in state

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is seen consoling Rosa Maria in the chapel where Cerciello Rega was laid in state

The slain officer's new wife, Rosa Maria, wept and placed her hands on his coffin as it was carried into the church on Sunday

The slain officer’s new wife, Rosa Maria, wept and placed her hands on his coffin as it was carried into the church on Sunday

The family expressed condolences to the policeman’s family and ‘all of those who have been impacted by this tragedy.’

At a house listed in Natale-Hjorth’s name, a young man who answered the door yelled ‘No!’ when an Associated Press reporter asked to speak to her.

Hundreds of people turned out to honor Cerciello Rega as his body was brought to a chapel in central Rome to lie in state on Sunday. 

The slain officer’s new wife, Rosa Maria, wept and placed her hands on his coffin as it was carried inside.

A funeral will be held Monday at the same chapel where she married Cerciello Rega on June 19 in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana. 

Forty-three days later, Rosa Maria will return to the church a widow. 

Somma Vesuviana Mayor Salvatore Di Sarno has proclaimed Monday to be a ‘day of mourning’ for the city near Naples. 

Cerciello Rega had just returned to duty after his honeymoon in Madagascar when he was stabbed. 

Photos of the officer, wearing his uniform for his wedding and showing off his wedding band as he sat next to his beaming bride, dominated the front pages of many Italian newspapers Saturday. 

Flowers, keepsakes and condolence letters have accumulated at a makeshift memorial outside the Carabinieri headquarters. Station commander Sandro Ottaviani told reporters Cerciello Rega was a beloved member of the force who ‘always thought about his neighbors, both during the service shifts and when he didn’t wear the uniform’.

‘He used to make pilgrimages to Lourdes and Loreto to help the suffering people every week,’ Ottaviani said, referring to two major Catholic pilgrimage sites. ‘Without telling anyone, he volunteered. Not only does a brave Carabinieri die, but a great man.’ 

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called his death a ‘deep wound for the State’ and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini praised the officer as a ‘hero’.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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