Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Two athletes shot in crossfire during Puerto Rico event

SHOW MUST GO ON:Race organizers decided to continue the triathlon, saying that police felt that the competitors were not the targets of the violence

AP, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

Two competitors in a Puerto Rico Ironman triathlon were injured by gunfire exchanged between occupants of two cars as they sped past the bicycling part of the event on Sunday in an upscale area of the US island’s capital.

Puerto Rico police identified the wounded competitors as Wisconsin woman Liz Boivin, 26, and Puerto Rico resident Miguel Arroyo Ramos, 49. Boivin was hit in the left calf, while three bullets struck Arroyo in the left side while they raced on bicycles through the San Juan district of Miramar. The triathlon involves biking, running and swimming.

The Wisconsin woman and the Puerto Rican man were reported in stable condition at a local hospital. On her Facebook page, Boivin wrote that the shrapnel that struck her calf “came out clean with no issues.” She said she was assisting Puerto Rican authorities with their investigation and she planned on racing at an upcoming athletic event in Boston.

The local field office of the US FBI is assisting island police with the investigation and might take charge of the case soon, according to agency spokesman Moises Quinones.

Race organizers decided to continue the Puerto Rico triathlon competition following Sunday’s outbreak of violence.

“The San Juan police have indicated that this was an isolated incident, the race and athletes were not a target, and that the course is safe for the race to continue,” said an Ironman statement.

Police say a passenger inside one the two cars that were exchanging gunfire was killed. He has been identified as local Jose Ramos Tapia and his body was found behind the wheel of the car where it crashed. The 25-year-old Ramos had recently been released from a prison stint for selling drugs in a public housing complex, according to El Nuevo Dia newspaper.

Occupants of the other car shot at a police patrol car as they sped toward the San Juan neighborhood of Rio Piedras. No officers were injured. The shooters’ car was later found abandoned.

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