Luca Scatà always wanted to be a police officer, but the 29-year-old could not have imagined when he set off on a regular foot patrol in the early hours of Friday that he was about to come face-to-face with Europe’s most wanted man.
Scatà and his patrol partner, Cristian Movio, thought there was something suspicious about Anis Amri when they approached him near a train station in the working-class Sesto San Giovanni district of Milan and asked him for his identification.
It was about 3am and Amri, the man suspected of killing 12 people when he ploughed a lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin five days earlier, initially said he did not have any papers but that he was from Calabria.
When the officers pressed him to show them his rucksack, Amri pulled out a gun, shooting Movio in the shoulder. Scatà fired twice in quick succession, sending the suspect to the ground.
It was a that may have saved lives, but it was not one born of years of experience.
Scatà only joined the force in Sesto San Giovanni on 2 November and is still serving his probationary period. He had spent the previous nine months in police training.
Within hours, the native of Canicattini Bagni, Sicily, was the subject of praise from Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, who commended the two officers’ “courage and skills”. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Berlin police force thanked them for their support and wished Movio a speedy recovery.
“My son simply did his job,” Scatà’s father, Pippo, told the Siracusa News. “We are proud of him. I don’t have other words to express how we feel.”
He also won accolades from the mayor of his home town, Paolo Amenta. “We are very proud of Luca,” he said. “He is an amazing man and he was very, very brave. Since he was little, his dream was to be a cop. We hope to see him soon in Sicily.”