Italian police opened an investigation Wednesday into the death of an intruder who was shot after breaking into the premises of a man who had reportedly been robbed 38 times.
Fredy Pacini, who owns a tyre shop in Monte San Savino in Tuscany, was accused of excessive use of force in self-defence after gunning down a 29-year-old Moldovan.
Pacini had taken to sleeping in his shop after a series of thefts and was woken by noise in the early hours of Wednesday.
Police say he fired several times at the victim, who was with a second man who managed to escape.
“Being a robber is a dangerous job. Am I wrong??? Self-defence is always legitimate!” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right League, said on Facebook.
“My solidarity lies with the Tuscan shopkeeper who was robbed 38 times,” he said.
His comment sparked a political backlash in Italy, with opponents on the left accusing him of inciting violence.
But a hashtag supporting the businessman, #iostoconFredy (#I’mwithFredy), went viral on social media.