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Shots fired at Benigni show in Italy; guard wounded

Shots fired at Benigni show in Italy; guard wounded

Roberto Benigni was reciting a page from Dante's poem on the afterlife when he thought hell had come to Earth.
Shots rang out Tuesday night as the Oscar-winning actor and director was performing in a piazza in the southern Italian city of Cosenza, police said. Upon hearing the gunfire, Benigni said: "What, is hell here, too?" but then resumed his performance, the news agency ANSA said.
Police said a security guard had stopped a man who was trying to get into the show without a ticket. The man then pulled out a gun and fired six shots, five of which hit the security guard in the legs, local police spokesman Angelo Cosentino told The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday.
The guard was hospitalized but the injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said. A suspect, a 45-year-old man with a police record for minor crimes, was arrested for attempted murder.
Benigni said Wednesday he was sorry about the incident, but at the same time thought it was poetic.
"The poetic greatness is that he (the shooter) did that just to hear Dante," ANSA quoted him as saying. "I'm sorry and I feel for the kid's family, but he did it for poetry, and that's a great thing."
Benigni is touring Italy with a show called "Tutto Dante (All Dante)" in which he mixes political satire with readings from "The Divine Comedy" _ the allegoric voyage through hell, purgatory and paradise written in the early 14th century by Tuscan poet Dante Alighieri.
The shooting took place on the margins of the show in a Cosenza piazza. Most in the audience didn't realize a gun had been fired but thought firecrackers had gone off, police said.
His next stop on the tour is Thursday in Caserta, near Naples.
Benigni, a Tuscany-born comic, is best known for directing "Life Is Beautiful," which won the best foreign film Oscar in 1999 and earned him the award for best actor.


Updated : 2021-07-24 20:16 GMT+08:00