ROMELuca Traini, 28, wrapped an Italian flag around his neck, grabbed his Glock and got into his black Alfa Romeo 147 with one apparent motive: to shoot African migrants.

He then drove street to street around the small town of Macerata, shooting five men and one woman, injuring two seriously, before police were able to stop the shooting spree in front of the towns monument to fallen soldiers. There, he then got out of his car, gave the Fascist salute and admitted to the crime, say police.

Traini, a muscled-up sometime boxer who ran for a local political post under the banner of Italys far-right Northern League party in 2017, had told his friends at the gym a day earlier, I have a pistol and Im not afraid to use it, according to local Italian media reports.

Racial tensions in the small hilltop town of Macerata in the Marche region reached a boiling point last week with the arrest of a Nigerian migrant for the murder of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro who had been dismembered and stuffed into two trolley suitcases and left in a vacant field on the towns city limits.

Photographs of Mastropietro as a teenager showed a pretty girl with long auburn hair and big dark eyes. But she had been in rehab, and had walked away from her treatment center two days before she died. Her clothes and blood was found in a house occupied by the Nigerian migrant arrested in connection with the murder.

Several people interviewed by local press after the shootings said Traini was in love with the victim of the crime. Autopsy reports have not been released to determine the cause of her death before her dismemberment, and no one has confirmed that Mastropietro reciprocated Trainis feelings.

Marco Valerio Verni, the dead womans uncle, told RAI that they did not support Trainis act if it was to avenge the death of their loved one. All we want is justice, but we cannot fight barbarism with more barbarism, he said. Such actions are not justifiable. This country is fed up — but such actions can never be justified.

Verni was referring to what can easily be described as extreme racial tensions in the country ahead of March 4 national elections. Fear and anger are being fueled by the countrys far-right parties who are all campaigning on anti-immigration platforms.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League, of which Traini was a card-carrying member, distanced his party from the shooter in the name of the party, but still blamed the current open migration policy for these racial tensions. The Northern League has coupled with Silvio Berlusconis Forza Italia party to run as a coalition that is currently polling ahead of the center left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

Salvini, whose rallies often bring out supporters toting Mussolini and Hitler posters, is campaigning on a promise to immediately expel 100,000 African immigrants from Italy in his first year in office. More than 600,000 mostly sub-Saharan African migrants have entered Italy illegally by sea in the last four years. Migration is the top issue in the campaign ahead of the March 4 vote with all parties campaigning to stem the flow of migrants into the country.

Unlike the Northern League, the alt-right Forza Nuova neo-fascist party embraced the shooter, reportedly offering to pay Trainis legal bills. Roberto Fiori, the party leader wrote a lengthy Facebook post supporting the shooters actions. The degeneration of the immigration phenomenon, now totally out of control, the Nigerian tribal criminality that explodes as we expected it would, have happened, our young people are now at the mercy of forces that I would not hesitate to define as satanic, he wrote.

"The only answer to these serious facts must be politics: to guard our neighborhoods, even physically oppose drug dealers, to prevent our cities from becoming lethal traps for our youth and an ideal place for all sorts of criminals and murderers, Fiori wrote.

I would not want the liberal left-wing to be unleashed against a young man who was certainly wrong, but who saw his city transformed in a short time from paradise to hell, he said with typical hyperbole.

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