Five slashed by fleeing bus free rider

·1-min read

A Somali asylum-seeker who was asked to show a bus ticket he didn't have is accused of slashing two ticket controllers and three other people, including a six-year-old boy, as he ran from the scene, Italian police say.

Investigators are ruling out terrorism as a motive and believe that the 26-year-old man was under the influence of drugs during the knife attack on Saturday night in the beach resort town of Rimini, according to reports on Italy's state broadcaster RAI.

The man slashed the two female controllers who had asked to see his ticket, and when the bus driver opened the door, he fled, it was reported.

As police gave chase, the man allegedly slashed three more people who were in his path. They included a six-year-old boy who was sitting with his mother in a local outdoor market.

The boy was in critical condition on Sunday after surgery for his wounds, including on his neck.

Police arrested the man after catching up with him on a side street flanking a hotel. He is being investigated for attempted murder.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, who has recently faced criticism for not cracking down more heavily on illegal immigration, said she will meet with local security officials on Monday in Rimini to review "the very grave episode."

The man, who wasn't identified, apparently had been denied asylum in several European countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, since arriving in Europe in 2015, the Corriere della Sera newspaper said.

State TV said the man had applied for asylum in Italy and was living in a migrant residence run by a Catholic charity in Rimini.

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