ROME, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Mayor of a small town in southern Italy was killed by gunmen who sprayed his car with bullets, local police said on Monday.
Angelo Vassallo, 57, mayor of Pollica near Salerno, was elected to a second term in March and was believed to be killed Sunday night, according to ANSA news agency.
"He was a man in the front line against crime and reported all developments to me," a prosecutor in charge of the investigation was quoted by ANSA as saying.
Vassallo had been nicknamed the "fisherman-mayor" because of his main activity and his work in favor of the environment around his town, which contains noted beauty spots and resorts.
Deputy speaker of the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella of Italy's center-left Democratic Party (PD), said the country has lost one of its best local administrators, who "bravely committed in defense of law and order, spotlighting one of the most beautiful areas in the Mezzogiorno."
Former head of environmental group Legambiente and now the PD's green economy pointman Ermete Realaccia said: "The South has lost a person of great worth and courage ... a friend who turned the defense of the environment into a battle."