Italian Courtroom Shooting: Shooter ‘Wanted Revenge,’ Killed Three Before Being Arrested

Four people are reportedly dead, including a judge, in a courtroom shooting that took place in Milan, Italy, this morning. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Claudio Giardiello, was a defendant in a fraudulent bankruptcy case taking place at the time of the shooting in a courtroom on the third floor of Milan’s Palace of Justice courthouse.

The shooting first began inside the courtroom where Giardiello was on trial with two others over the collapse of a property business where he was a shareholder. During the cross-examination of a witness, Giardiello pulled out his gun and shot his lawyer, 37-year old Alberto Claris Appiani. The shooter then took aim at three others in the courtroom, prosecutor Gaetano Ruta, who he missed, and 60-year-old Giorgio Erba and his nephew, Davide Limongelli, who were present in the courtroom as co-defendants. Erba later died in hospital of his injuries, which included a gunshot wound to the chest, while Limongelli was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg.

The shooter then descended the steps to a courtroom on the second floor, where he shot 75-year-old bankruptcy Judge Fernando Ciampi, who has been a magistrate in Italy’s judicial system since 1967.

After taking the life of the veteran judge, Giardiello hid in the courtroom for nearly an hour while police sealed off all exits in the courthouse, and thoroughly searched the building. It is as yet unknown how the gunman escaped the building, which was surrounded by officers, but he managed to flee the courthouse on a motorbike. He was apprehended not long after on the outskirts of Milan. Giardiello is being held at carabinieri military police barracks, according to Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

When pressed by police, the courtroom shooter admitted the motive behind his brutal attack.

“I wanted to take revenge on those who ruined me.”

The question on everyone’s mind now is how the shooter managed to get into the courtroom with a gun in the first place. Milan’s Palace of Justice is a massive “fortress-like” building, where visitors must pass through one of four metal detectors that stand at the entrances. The Associated Press reported, however, that lawyers, and officials with IDs, are regularly waved through without having to pass through a metal detector.

New information into the investigation of the courtroom shooting, coming from CCTV footage, alleges Giardello gained entrance to the courthouse with the use of a fake ID. Edmondo Bruti Liberati, a prosecutor present at the courthouse at the time of the shooting, told the Associated Press that the footage displayed the shooter showing “something, obviously an ID card,” to the official stationed at the door he used, which was typically “an entrance reserved for staff, magistrates, and lawyers only.”

Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, promised there would be an investigation into this fatal breach.

“The control system cannot afford to have holes and flaws like the ones at the Milan courthouse. We must ascertain who, how and why did wrong [sic]. Something did not work. Our commitment is that this never happens again, and that those responsible pay.”

A fourth victim in the courtroom shooting is said to have died of a heart attack.

[Image Credits: USA Today, the Telegraph, map graphic via the Guardian]