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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 12:41 GMT
Rome mourns killed football fan
The casket of Gabriele Sandri, covered by football team scarves, is carried by his father Giorgio Sandri (left) and his brother Cristiano (right) in Rome
Gabriele Sandri's death has angered many in Italy
Thousands of people in Rome have gathered for the funeral of an Italian football fan shot dead by a policeman.

Gabriele Sandri, 26, was killed on Sunday as he sat in a car at a motorway stop near the Tuscan city of Arezzo.

His death sparked widespread fan riots, and games in Italy's lower divisions were later suspended for one week.

The unnamed policeman has said his gun went off as he ran to stop a brawl between rival supporters. He is now being investigated for manslaughter.

The mourners gathered for the funeral of the Lazio fan outside San Pio X church in Rome, Mr Sandri's home city. Many in the crowd were supporters of rival teams.

What a fool... I have destroyed two families, that of this boy and mine
Policeman who fired the shot

The arrival of the coffin was greeted by applause. The crowd applauded again when several Lazio players and Rome's Mayor Walter Veltroni came to pay their last respects.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people filed past Mr Sandri's casket, which was on view to the public in a chapel.

"Let's hope that we'll never again witness such a tragedy," Lazio player Lucian Zauri was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Tough law

Mr Sandri was hit by a bullet in the neck as he sat in a car as police tried to stop fighting between Lazio and Juventus followers.

An undated photo of Gabriele Sandri
Gabriele Sandri earned his living as a disc jockey in Rome

His death triggered violent clashes across Italy in which some 40 policemen were injured.

Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into manslaughter, though police said more serious charges could still be laid.

But the policeman who fired the shot has told the newspaper Corriere della Sera it was a tragic mistake.

The officer, who has been in the force for 12 years, said he fired his pistol more than 200m (660ft) away from Mr Sandri.

"I was not aiming anywhere, I was not pointing at anyone," the policeman was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

"The first shot I fired in the air and the second went off as I was running. What a fool. Now I know what happened, I am devastated.

"Now I have destroyed two families, that of this boy and mine," he said.

The president of the Italian Football Federation said he was preparing to announce major changes.

In April, the government introduced a law designed to stamp out football hooliganism following the death of a policeman in rioting at a match in Sicily in February.


SEE ALSO
Probe starts on Italy fan death
12 Nov 07 |  Europe
In pictures: Italian fan killed
11 Nov 07 |  In Pictures

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