The Latest: Rome suspect attended ‘fight nights’, uncle says

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Maria Rosa Cerciello Rega

Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega’s wife, Rosa Maria, right, follows the coffin containing the body of her husband during his funeral in his hometown of Somma Vesuviana, near Naples, southern Italy, Monday, July 29, 2019. Two American teenagers were jailed in Rome on Saturday as authorities investigate their alleged roles in the fatal stabbing of the Italian police officer on a street near their hotel. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

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ROME (AP) — The Latest on the slaying of an Italian police officer and two American suspects (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

The uncle of one of the teens jailed in Italy for the fatal stabbing of a police officer says his nephew took part in organized fights between boys in high school.

The uncle of Finnegan Lee Elder told The Associated Press on Tuesday that “fight nights” in a popular San Francisco park were well-known and “apparently resulted in many injuries.”

Sean Elder says his nephew didn’t have a criminal record or discipline records from school.

Finnegan Elder, who is 19, and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, who is 18, were taken into custody hours after the slaying of Carabinieri Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega early Friday.

A judge said Elder told authorities he stabbed a man he later discovered was a police officer because he feared he was being strangled. The judge noted the teen lacked neck marks consistent with attempted strangulation.


1:10 p.m.

Italian authorities say a Carabinieri police officer who was fatally stabbed during a confrontation with two American teenagers over a botched drug deal had forgotten his gun that night — but that regardless, there wasn’t time for him or his partner to use their weapons and the suspects then fled.

Carabinieri Gen. Francesco Gargaro defended the police response during a press conference Tuesday, providing the first details about the confrontation in which Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega was fatally stabbed.

Americans Finnegan Lee Elder, 19, and Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, 18, were arrested early Friday in the slaying of Cerciello Rega.

He and his partner, Andrea Varriale, had responded to the scene after a man reported to police that the two Americans had stolen his bag during a drug deal.

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