Italian journalist fatally shot at Haitian bank

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2009 8:16 PM

An Italian journalist was mortally wounded by gunmen who may have tried to rob him outside a bank in Haiti's capital, Haitian media reported Sunday.

Francesco Fantoli died of his wounds at a hospital run by the international aid group Doctors Without Borders shortly after arriving around 1 p.m. Saturday, said Michelle Chouinard, head of mission for the French section of the group.

The 54-year-old journalist and filmmaker had lived in Haiti for several years and was known for sports commentary on local television. He recently founded a soccer school in the southern city of Jacmel, where he often lived.

Fantoli was shot twice by attackers on motorcycles while leaving a bank in the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince, said Haiti Press Network, a local news agency with which Fantoli worked.

"He was gravely wounded. We treated him and unfortunately he died as a result of those wounds," Chouinard told The Associated Press. The slain journalist's family was expected to take his body back to Italy.

The news agency said the unknown gunmen were attempting to rob Fantoli, but it was not clear how much money he had or if any was taken. Haitians and foreigners have been killed in robbery attempts at banks in the area in recent years.

Haitian National Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours did not respond to messages requesting comment Sunday.

The impoverished Caribbean country has been besieged by violence for most of this decade, but crime has decreased somewhat thanks to a rebuilding Haitian police force and a 9,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force brought in after a bloody 2004 rebellion.