A 19-year-old American student is in critical condition after being stabbed multiple times by his Italian roommate, reports say. The New Jersey-born Fabio Malpreso was studying in Italy when his Italian roommate allegedly stabbed him multiple times in the chest and other parts of his body. Malpeso was taken to a hospital in Rome for surgery and was in critical but stable condition as of Friday, officials say.
Alexander Schepis Reid, 20, is being held as the suspected attacker. The two young men are students at Rome’s American John Cabot University.
The attack took place early Thursday morning in the students’ shared apartment, which overlooks Rome’s famous Colosseum.
The motive for the attack is unclear, although officials report that Reid was in a “drug- and alcohol-related delirium” upon his arrest.
Reid’s lawyer, Vincenzo Comi, reported that Reid was “distraught and exhausted” while in custody on Friday. “He is clearly under shock, and nothing in his past could have prepared him for this. He has never had any problems with the law and has always been a model student with top grades,” Comi said. No details about what Reid said about his crimes have been released.
Fellow student Marta Canigiulia, 20, told NBC News that she was friends with both the victim and his attacker. “They were best friends … they are best friends, I hope they still are,” she added. “I loved them for the fact that they were always very cheery. They would always come up to you and say: ‘Hi Marta, what’s up?’ They were always smiling.”
A third man, an Italian aged in his 30s named Andrea Rinaldi, suffered injuries to his arms and hands trying to defend Malpeso. Police reported he was also in the hospital.
In a letter, John Cabot University president addressed concerned students and staff:
“You may be reading in the press or on social media rumors which do not accurately reflect the event. As a community, we should remind ourselves that the reporting of events such as these can often be exaggerated, especially in the early hours.
“I am dealing with this situation personally, with the support of the dedication and wisdom of JCU’s Administration and staff, and I am in touch with the involved parties and their families. While this event has shocked all of us, John Cabot University has a strong and united community where students, faculty, and staff are supportive of each other. As we reflect on the meaning of this for our community, please make use of that support. Remember that the University also has professional counseling services available that you can turn to should you wish to have more guidance.
“I trust you will all join me in sending our prayers to the victim’s family for their son’s full recovery as well as to the family of the alleged attacker, who is likely shattered by this tragic event.