A 15-year-old boy has been fatally shot in Naples after allegedly trying to mug a police officer, reportedly prompting the boy’s family to ransack a hospital emergency unit in retaliation.

The boy was armed when he attempted to rob the plainclothes officer in the Santa Lucia area of the city, according to Italian media reports. They said he was on a scooter when he pointed a gun at the officer, who was in a car with his girlfriend, in an attempt to steal his Rolex watch. The officer then shot the boy, who later died while undergoing surgery at Pellegrini hospital.

The boy’s family, accompanied by a group of friends, then allegedly ransacked the hospital’s emergency unit, forcing the transfer of patients to other wards and hospitals.

“Last night, after the death of a minor who arrived in emergency with a gun wound, the unit was devastated by the family and friends of the boy,” said Ciro Verdoliva, the director of the local health authority.

“This is a serious act for which I express solidarity with all our staff who, once again, have been victims of insults and attacks despite doing all they can to assist patients.

“I was forced to close the emergency room as what happened prevented services from being carried out in safe conditions, both for patients and staff.”

There were calls in January for the army to patrol emergency departments after a group of teenagers forced an ambulance to drive to a neighbourhood in Naples to treat a boy with a sprained knee.

Verdoliva said at the time that aggression toward hospital staff had reached “the point of no return”.

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