Sunday, May 28, 2023

Puerto Rico Olympian’s mother dies of stray bullet at home

by Dave Collins

The mother of a Puerto Rican Olympian was killed by a stray bullet while sewing at her Connecticut home over the weekend, according to the athlete and police.

Police believe 56-year-old Mabel Martinez was an innocent man and that the intended target was apparently a man walking outside his home in the city of Waterbury. He was injured in the leg and survived. No arrests have been announced.

Mabel Martínez was the mother of Yarimar Mercado Martínez, a rifle shooter on the Puerto Rico Olympic team that competed at the Summer Olympics last year and 2016.

Police said Mabel Martinez died on Sunday afternoon after being shot in the head.

Mercado Martinez, 27, expressed his anguish in a social media post.

“Why you? Why this way? You were sewing as usual in your little house,” she wrote in Spanish.

“Two days ago you called me excitedly, asking me to save the date and help prepare to renew my wedding vows with Daddy in Puerto Rico,” she said on Sunday. “There are so many things I still needed to learn from you… I was so far away without doing anything, I couldn’t even say goodbye to you.”

She wrote that the family intends to bring her mother’s body to Puerto Rico “so that her friends and family can say goodbye.”

“I apologize to Puerto Rico because even if I want to, I can’t really compete, my place is with my family,” she wrote.

A message seeking comment was left for Mercado Martinez on Monday.

The athlete took off from Brazil late Sunday and arrived in Connecticut, according to Gilberto Hernandez, president of the Puerto Rico Shooting Association, the sport’s governing body in the US region.

Hernandez said it was unclear when the body would be buried in Puerto Rico, adding that the shooting association is helping pay for a portion of the funeral costs.

“We believe she will get over this,” he told the Associated Press. “She can count on us. … The doors of association are always open.”

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said investigators believed the shootings were drug-related and had nothing to do with Mabel Martinez.

“It was definitely a random, tragic act of violence,” he told the Associated Press. “She was in her house. That’s not the intended target.”

Spagnolo said relatives, including Mabel Martínez’s husband, were extremely distraught, which she described as inconsolable.

He said the investigation has been “very, very active” since Saturday.


Associated Press journalist Danica Coto contributed to this report from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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