Swimmer paralysed after being shot in Rome

Tragic consequences for promising swimmer shot in case of mistaken identity.

Manuel Bortuzzo, a 19-year-old who was shot outside a Rome pub in a case of mistaken identity, has lost the use of his legs according to surgeons at S. Camillo hospital.

The incident took place outside an Irish-themed pub at Piazza Eschilo in the southern Rome suburb of Axa in the early hours of 3 February. 

Police say that Bortuzzo was an innocent bystander who was shot by a gunman on a scooter following a fight at the nearby pub. Bortuzzo was unaware that a fight had taken place shortly before he and his friends arrived in Piazza Eschilo.

Bortuzzo underwent a double surgery to stop a thoracic haemorrhage and to remove the bullet lodged in his spine, and is now said to be in a stable condition, according to Italian news agency ANSA. However surgeons say he will not walk again.

A promising middle-distance swimmer with his heart set on the Olympics, Bortuzzo had moved to Rome from Treviso in northern Italy to train fulltime at the Italian Swimming Federation training academy in Ostia.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi reportedly telephoned Bortuzzo's family to express her solidarity, while Italy's deputy premier and interior minister Matteo Salvini pledged that the "thugs responsible for this crime will be caught and sent to jail."

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Address Piazza Eschilo, 00125 Roma RM, Italy

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Swimmer paralysed after being shot in Rome

Piazza Eschilo, 00125 Roma RM, Italy