OTTAWA — A Canadian man injured in a brazen daytime drug-land assassination in Mexico says he didn't realize he'd been shot until he saw the blood flowing from his wound.
Mike Di Lorenzo told QMI Agency he was vacationing in the town of Mazatlan in the western part of the country when he and his wife decided to stroll down to the shops last Sunday.
The couple were in a busy side street away from the tourist district when they heard gunfire.
“My reaction was to push my wife against the brick wall to protect her,” the 69-year-old B.C.-native said over the phone from his hospital bed in Mazatlan, located 1,000 km northwest of Mexico City.
“I didn't think I'd been hit and I thought that (my wife) was fine. Except a few seconds later I realized my leg was injured and I was losing a lot of blood,” he said.
Di Lorenzo is now recovering after a successful surgery Tuesday to repair the bone in his calf shattered by the bullet.
Josephina, his wife, said that even days later, she's shaken by the shooting.
“I'm in shock,” she said. “I jump every time I hear a noise. I'm definitely going to go see a psychologist when I get home.”
Mexican authorities said Wednesday Di Lorenzo and another bystander had been caught in a “settling of accounts” between rival drug gangs. A 25-year-old gang member was killed in the incident.
Another Canadian, Karen Page, happened on the scene moments after the violence and saw Di Lorenzo on the ground.
“I saw his wife go down, crying and screaming,” the Vancouver-area woman recalled. “I saw the fellow who'd been killed and police with guns.”
Page — who called the ambulance for the couple — visited them in hospital Tuesday and said Di Lorenzo was receiving top-notch care.
The city's tourism board has also promised to cover the costs of the couple's return travel expenses.
Page admitted it was the second Sunday in a row she was forced to take cover as bullets flew in a drug assassination but she maintained she still felt safe in Mexico.
“Drug violence is everywhere in the world,” Page said. “I look at things in the big picture.”
Di Lorenzo agreed.
“In the end we were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “Mazatlan is a beautiful town, the days are sunny and I plan on returning.”
— with files from Jorge Contreras, QMI Agency