Long Island Man Fatally Shot While Visiting Colombia: Police

A 65-year-old tourist who Colombia police say was shot to death during an apparent robbery attempt in a wealthy enclave of Medellin was identified Sunday as a Long Island, New York, resident.

The victim was John Mariani of Floral Park, his brother, Joe Mariani, told Newsday in a telephone interview. John Mariani was a lifelong resident of Floral Park and a contractor in the auto industry. He had been visiting Colombia with another Long Islander, his brother said.

Police in Colombia said John Mariani was attacked Friday night when his taxi was intercepted by gunmen in a car and on a motorcycle, according to The Associated Press. The assailants tried to take his wallet and personal belongings and then shot him before fleeing.

U.S. Embassy officials had no immediate comment, but police said Mariani arrived in Medellin from Costa Rica.

The El Poblado neighborhood where the shooting occurred is one of Medellin's wealthiest and safest enclaves. It is home to the city's vibrant dining scene and dozens of high-rise apartment buildings and hotels.

Joe Mariani, a Mineola resident, said he did not know the name of the man with whom his brother was traveling, but he said the man was his brother's "best friend."

John Mariani said his brother was single and one of three brothers. Another brother, Warren, 63, also lives in Floral Park.

Medellin, the country's second-largest city, is a far cry from the 1980s when it was headquarters for Pablo Escobar's feared Medellin cocaine cartel, and it has been experiencing a boom in tourism. The New York Times featured it as No. 11 on its list of 52 places to go in 2015, but the city remains a major center of crime. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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