A far-right Italian author killed two Senegalese traders and wounded three others on Tuesday after he opened fire on two markets in central Florence, Agence France Presse reported.
Italian police said the attacker, 50-year-old Gianluca Casseri, then shot and killed himself in an underground car park.
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Reports said two men had died and a third was injured in Dalmazia Square, north of the city center, while two men were injured in the central San Lorenzo Square, a popular tourist destination.
Witnesses near Dalmazia Square said the gunman calmly got out of his car before firing three shots.
A market trader who saw the attack told La Repubblica:
"I heard what I thought were fireworks but when I turned around I saw three men bleeding on the floor."
The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, said Casseri had acted alone, describing him as a “lucid, mad and racist killer," AFP reported.
"He said Florence would observe a day of mourning, and would fund the repatriation of the bodies to Senegal.
Following the shooting spree, dozens of Africans vendors in Florence marched through the city centre, denouncing the attack, the BBC reported.
It was described as a" blind explosion of hatred" by the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, who called on Italian authorities to fight "every form of intolerance and to reaffirm the tradition of openness and solidarity in our country."
Casseri, who lived alone in the Tuscan countryside, reportedly wrote several fantasy novels, and was the editor of a niche magazine about fantasy and horror, the BBC reported.
He’s also understood to have been a member of the far-right group Casa Pound, which has distanced itself from the attack.