STA, 8 July 2019 - Updated 17:00
An Iraqi man injured a taxi driver and attacked a police officer in the Nova Gorica area on Sunday afternoon. According to Nova Gorica police, the man attacked the taxi driver after the driver determined that he does not have money to pay for the ride.
The suspect entered the taxi in Vrtojba but only a few kilometres later, it became clear to the taxi driver that the man does not have enough money to pay for the ride to Ljubljana, so he pulled over on the expressway and wanted the man to leave the car.
But the 26-year-old resisted and attacked the taxi driver with a hobby knife.
The Nova Gorica police department said it had been informed of a man injured and bleeding along a road at 5:30pm yesterday.
Two police officers rushed to the scene to find a man bleeding from his neck and saying he had been attacked by a man in the near-by taxi.
The taxi driver had escaped from the vehicle and took the keys with him. The police found the Iraqi man attempting to hotwire the car to get to Ljubljana on his own, the head of the Nova Gorica police, Evgen Govekar, told the press.
As the police officers approached him, he responded with threats and started running towards one of them with the knife shouting, police said.
The officer fired a warning shot, but that did not stop the man so he shot him in the leg.
The man, believed to be a citizen of Iraq, was transported to the Šempeter general hospital.
According to Govekar, the taxi driver sustained only mild injuries and has already been released from hospital, while the Iraqi man underwent surgery during the night.
Police are still checking the attacker's identity and status in the EU, as he had no documents on him. He had no mobile phone or cash.
The police believe he is a 26-year-old citizen of Iraq who stayed in Germany in 2018 and 2019 and filed for asylum there, only to have his request denied.
In 2017, he stayed in France. He came to Slovenia through Italy and wanted to go to Ljubljana. It is not yet clear where he entered the Schengen zone.
While the circumstances of yesterday's incident are yet to be fully investigated, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Police Commissioner Tanja Bobnar, who were touring the towns along the southern border today, assessed that the police officer had acted professionally.
According to Bobnar, he and his partner prevented an even worse scenario. She said that both the police officer and the attacker had received psychological and medical assistance.
The police are actively investigating the case and have so far established that the suspect came from Italy, Bobnar told reporters.
Slovenian police officers rarely use their guns. Police statistics show the entire force records less than one shot at suspect per year.