TODAY COLOMBIA – A brother of a Long Island man gunned down while vacationing in Colombia said Sunday his family is struggling to get details of how he was killed.
John Mariani, 65, of Floral Park, was fatally shot Friday during an apparent robbery attempt in a wealthy enclave of Medellin when his taxi was intercepted by gunmen on a motorcycle.
Beyond that, Mariani’s family has learned little, according his younger brother, Warren.
“We’re trying to get his body back. That’s the problem right now,” Warren Mariani said, adding that agonizing process could take up to a week.
“This should have never happened,” Warren Mariani said. “I’m in shock. The whole family is in shock. My brother is the type of guy to give the shirt off his back.”
The victim’s brother first heard of Mariani’s death through news reports that circulated late Saturday.
Mariani and his friend had traveled to Medellin from Costa Rica that Thursday and were on their way to a martini bar when the attackers ambushed them outside their taxi, authorities in Colombia said.
The friend heard a “commotion” and turned to see what appeared to be Mariani backing away from the gunman after refusing to hand over his wallet.
The shooter then fired at Mariani and fatally struck him in the chest. The suspect stole the wallet and fled with an accomplice driving the motorcycle.
The friend, who was not injured, helped Mariani into a taxi with the help of two nearby guards, but Mariani died on his way to a hospital.
Cops are looking at surveillance video to identify the suspects, having released a description of the gunman’s motorcycle driver accomplice.
The gunman was masked by a helmet.
A reward of about 50 million pesos — or $16,000 — is being offered by Medellin authorities for information leading to the culprit’s capture.