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Mother of Olympian killed by stray bullet in Waterbury; police say she wasn't intended target

A man who was nearby was injured as well.

WATERBURY, Conn. — A Waterbury woman who died after being shot Saturday afternoon was not the intended target, according to police. A man was also injured in the same incident. 

Police were called to the area of Walnut Street and Orange Street at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday. When officers arrived, they were told a woman had been struck by gunfire in her home.

Flowers, balloons and candles were placed outside her home. Waterbury police believe the shooting was drug-related and say that the victim was an innocent bystander.

Police said Mabel Martinez Antongiorgi, 56, was found in the home on Walnut Street with a head wound. She was taken to Saint Mary's Hospital, where she was originally listed in critical condition. 

The home on Orange Street has a bullet hole on the second-floor window and next door, windows that were shot through were boarded up.

Police were notified a short time later that a 35-year-old man with a gunshot wound had been dropped off at Waterbury Hospital. The man said he had been walking in the area of Walnut and Orange Streets when he was struck by gunfire. He was treated for his injuries and released. 

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Police said they were notified Sunday evening that Antongiorgi had died of her injuries. Investigators do not believe that the woman was an intended target.

Antongiorgi was the mother of a Puerto Rican Olympian rifle shooter Yarimar Mercado Martinez. She competed in the Summer Olympics last year and in 2016. 

Yarimar uploaded a post in Spanish about her mother's death on Instagram. 

"There are so many things I had yet to learn from you. You did not deserve, not even a little bit, of what happened to you. Its not fair, you left me so soon and I was so far unable to do anything," she said. 

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“The family say it was a shootout, somebody was shooting at the house,” said one woman whose family was home at the time. “It could have been one of my grandkids,” she said. “They was in the living room playing but thank God the shot went up the window.”

Darryl Copeland, Vice President of the Waterbury chapter of the anti-gun violence group, Ice the Beef, said the conversations surrounding conflict resolution and mental health need to continue.

“It has to be something that’s talked about at home. It has to be something that’s definitely talked about to our youth. And it has to be talked about in a way where we have to be able to resolve conflict without resorting to gun violence,” he said.

Police are expected to provide more details into this homicide Tuesday morning.

The Waterbury Police Department’s Major Crime Detectives are actively investigating this incident. Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the Waterbury Police Department’s Detective Bureau at (203) 574-6941 or Crime Stoppers at (203) 755-1234. No further information is available at this time.

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Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.


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