A 69-year-old Penticton man threw his wife to the ground seconds before taking a bullet himself as an innocent bystander in a suspected gangland shooting in Mexico.
Mike Di Lorenzo suffered a severe gunshot wound to the leg Monday afternoon in the resort city of Mazatlan.
According to news reports, a number of men opened fire with automatic assault rifles on a young man riding by on a motorcycle. A 54-year-old woman and Mr. Di Lorenzo were hit by stray bullets.
His son, Adriano Di Lorenzo, said from his home in Penticton Tuesday that when the shooting started, his father pushed his mother to the ground to keep her out of the line of fire. She was not injured.
Adriano said his father underwent surgery Tuesday. Although the wound is not considered life-threatening, his leg was seriously damaged, the younger Di Lorenzo said.
He added his parents had just walked out of a pharmacy a few blocks from Mazatlan's main tourist strip when the shooting began.
"The guy on the motorcycle was the target and there were people in a van, apparently, who carried out the execution," he said. "Apparently, there were over 50 shell casings, so they let out two clips of AK-47 rounds."
Adriano said he hasn't had a chance to talk directly with his parents since the shooting, but his sister managed to set up a computer phone link via Skype.
The couple had left Penticton in December and were due back home in March. Adriano said his parents regularly holiday in Mazatlan and never considered themselves in any kind of danger during their previous visits.
They even had been considering buying a condominium there.
Adriano said when he first heard of the shooting, the whole incident seemed surreal.
Now the family's main concern is getting their parents safely home. He noted they are considered witnesses to a murder, and armed policemen have been stationed outside the hospital room.
"I've just talked to Foreign Affairs, and I'll be working on it [Wednesday]" he said.