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CRIME

American student died ‘after brawl with homeless man’

A 40-year-old homeless man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering 19-year-old American student, Beau Solomon, Italian police said on Tuesday.

American student died 'after brawl with homeless man'
Beau Solomon was found dead in Rome's Tiber river after going missing on Friday. Photo: Facebook

Massimo Galioto, from Rome, was arrested for manslaughter, police said in a statement.

Solomon’s body was found in Rome’s Tiber river, near Ponte Marconi, on Monday morning, three days after he went missing.

Galioto's companion, with whom he shares a tent on the embankment, told Italy's Rai Uno he had not meant to hurt the student.

A drunk Solomon had “bumped into Massimo and they began to argue. They were pushing each other. Massimo pushed him, the boy pushed back, and then he fell in the water,” she said.

Two witnesses told police they saw a man being thrown into the river in the early hours of Friday morning.

Solomon had arrived in the capital on Thursday to undertake a five-week course at John Cabot University.

The student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was reported missing the next morning by his flatmate, who “was worried when he did not see Beau at orientation that morning”, John Cabot University said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

The friend had reportedly lost contact with Solomon at around 1am while together at a bar in Rome’s popular Trastevere area.

Solomon’s body, which had suffered a wound to the head, was identified by his family, who flew to Rome on Sunday.

Police suspect Solomon may have hit his head on a rock when he fell in. It was not clear what he was doing on the embankment.

His bank card had been used while he was missing by someone who withdrew over €1,500 ($1,675) in Milan, but Galioto's companion said the homeless man had nothing to do with the theft, accusing foreign thieves instead.

Galioto returned to his tent and went to sleep after the incident, instead of alerting emergency services, Italian media reports said.

Solomon had reportedly survived a rare form of cancer as a child and hoped to enter politics after university.

John Phillips, the US Ambassador to Italy, on Tuesday sent his condolences to Solomon’s family.

“I was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Beau Solomon,” he said in a statement. “My heart goes out to his family and friends. The U.S. Embassy stands ready to provide support to Italian authorities investigating his disappearance and death.”

John Cabot University also said in a statement on its website: “John Cabot University is greatly saddened by the death of Beau Solomon, a visiting student from Wisconsin Madison. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and we are committed to assist the family in any way possible.

“John Cabot remains in constant contact with the Italian authorities and the US Embassy as the investigation into Beau’s death unfolds. There have not been any indications of elevated threats to our students or the local community. The University continues to work tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of all our students.”

ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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