The mother of a Puerto Rican Olympian was killed by a stray bullet in her Connecticut home over the weekend, according to the athlete and police. Mabel Martinez, 56, was the mother of Yarimar Mercado Martinez, a rifle shooter on the Puerto Rico Olympic team who competed in the summer Olympics last year and in 2016.
Mabel Martinez died Sunday after having been shot in the head Saturday afternoon inside her home in Waterbury, Connecticut, city police said. A man who was walking outside her home, who was shot in the leg and survived, appeared to be the target, authorities said. No arrests have been announced.
Mercado Martinez, 27, expressed her anguish in social media postings.
"Mommy, mommy of my life," she wrote in Spanish. "There are so many things I still needed to learn from you, you didn't deserve even a little bit what happened to you, it's not fair mommy, you left too soon and I was so far away without being able to do anything, I couldn't even say goodbye to you and I love you so much and you are such an important person in my life. "Two days ago you called me with excitement, asking me to save the date and help you prepare to renew your wedding vows with daddy in Puerto Rico," she wrote. "Why you? Why this way? You were just sitting in your little house sewing, as you always did."
A message seeking comment was left Monday for Mercado Martinez. She was traveling Monday to Connecticut from Brazil, where she was scheduled to compete in an international competition, Telemundo reported.
She wrote on Facebook that her family planned to bring her mother's body to Puerto Rico "so her friends and family can say goodbye." She also asked people for contributions to help pay for the costs.
Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo called Mabel Martinez's death a tragic case of an innocent bystander getting hit by gunfire. He said police believe the shooting was drug-related and had nothing to do with her.
"This was definitely a random, tragic act of violence," he told The Associated Press. "She was in her house. She's not the intended target." Spagnolo said relatives were extremely distraught, including Mabel Martinez's husband, whom he described as inconsolable. He said the investigation has been "very, very active" since Saturday.