A man believed by the police to be the ‘prime suspect’ in the double murder that took place in Sliema last week was arrested in today’s police raid in Floriana, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà confirmed.
Gafà held a crime conference in light of the development, albeit a brief one. He repeatedly emphasised that investigations were at a delicate stage, and that he consequently was not in a position to reveal too many details – including on the identity of the suspect.
But he did confirm that so far, the police believe the motive to be theft. The two victims – 58-year-old Christian Pandolfino and 30-year-old Ivor Maciejowski – were known to wear a number of heavy gold chains, and the assailants appear to have stolen gold jewellery.
And with those remarks, the crime conference is over. Thank you for following our live blog.
"These are the details we can give right now. Please do understand that we are trying to be as transparent as we can, but investigations are at a delicate stage right now," Gafà adds.
But once more, Gafà notes that he was not in a position to elaborate at this stage.
The MaltaToday correspondent asks a number of questions, including any potential links to the Albanian mafia and whether there were any ties between the victims and the suspect.
So far, Gafà confirms, no stolen gold was found, though other items linked to the murder were found.
He repeats that the at present, the motive is presumed to be theft, given the victims' propensity to wear substantial amounts of gold jewellery.
The Police Commissioner states that it still needs to be determined whether the handgun the suspect was carrying was the same one used in the murder.
Gafà reiterates that a handgun was seized from the suspect's possession, and could not comment further on the matter.
TVM's correspondent questions whether the suspect resisted the arrest, in light of the fact that he was wielding a firearm.
Gafà highlights that the police were aware that today's operation would be dangerous, and consequently took the necessary precautions, including firearms and bullet-proof vests.
In reply to a question on how the accused was out on bail, Gafà emphasises that this was a Court matter, and that it was not prudent for him to comment.
In reply to a question by The Malta Independent, Gafà confirms that the two other people in the building were not linked to the murder. But another person is being questioned.
Gafà highlights that investigations are at a delicate stage, and urges the media to be prudent in their report to avoid compromising the police's efforts.
The suspect is being detained at the police HQ. However, he was taken for a check-up after complaining of a toothache.
The police used four stun grenades (flashbangs) in the operation. These grenades seek to disorient a target by producing a blinding flash and a loud noise.
He highlights that the suspect was wielding a firearm when he was found.
Gafà highlights that the police took all precautions in preparation for the raid, including the wearing of bullet-proof vests.
Two other people were inside the building when the arrest was carried out. One of them was also arrested.
Once his Floriana hideout was identified, the police decided to carry out an arrest, on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by duty magistrate Ian Farrugia.
But he adds that the person, who is considered to be the prime suspect, had been tracked by the police for a number of days.
Gafà confirms that a foreign national has been arrested, though emphasises that he is not in a position to confirm his identity.
When the getaway car was discovered, various items linked to the crime were found, including clothes, items stolen from the scene of the crime as well as the numberplates – stolen from another car. Two realistic-looking replica machine guns were also found.
Though this also still needs to be confirmed, the police believe that the murder was be motivated by theft.
Gafà states that at this point, the police are still trying to confirm what had been stolen, but said that initial indications were that the assailants made off with gold jewellery.
Ivor Maciejowski was struck once, while Christian Pandolfino was shot four times.
He summarises what had been said at the first press conference, before confirming that six shots were fired.
This, he says, confirmed the competence of the force's investigators.
Gafà highlights that there have been six murder cases so far, and the first five have all been solved.
The press conference begins, with Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà starting by praising the police officers involved in investigating the double murder for the results achieved.