Turin police on Friday staged an operation to arrest eight people suspected of causing the panic that led to a deadly stampede among people watching the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid that killed one woman and injured 1,500 in a Turin square last June, sources said. The arrested people are suspected of trying to commit robberies by using pepper spray, thus causing the panic that swept through the northern city’s Piazza San Carlo square as fans watched the match on a big screen, the sources said.
Police said those arrested are a group of young men between the ages of 18-20 from North African countries, five of whom have Italian citizenship.
The group conducted a series of robberies during large public events in northern Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium by using pepper spray, police said.
In Italy, these events included an Elisa concert in Turin in September 2017 and a Verona dance club in January 2018, in addition to the Turin soccer final, police said.
Police said four of the eight were present at the Turin soccer final, one of whom, Sohaib Bouimadaghen, an Italian citizen born in Ciriè in 1998 and Turin resident, confessed following his arrest Friday.
On Thursday a probe into responsibility in relation to the stampede ended and requests for indictments are set to be made, judicial sources said.
Mayor Chiara Appendino and the city’s police chief and prefect are among those probed. One of the charges against two of those arrested on Friday is injury resulting in death, with relation to victim Erika Pioletti.
Pioletti, 38, died at Turin’s Giovanni Bosco hospital two weeks after suffering a crush-induced heart attack in the stampede. Pioletti, from the northern city of Domodossola, had travelled to the city to watch the match with her boyfriend, a big Juventus fan. Another woman, who was out for a walk with her husband and was not in the area for the game, was left severely disabled by the stampede. Many of the people who were injured have given harrowing reports of being trampled on, or trampling on others.