Translated from original reporting by Giusy Cisale, SwimSwam Italia.
Two men from Acilia presented themselves to police on Wednesday in connection with the shooting of Italian swimmer Manuel Bortuzzo, which has left his legs paralyzed. The accused, 24 and 25, were identified by witnesses, and confirmed that they shot at Bortuzzo by mistake: that he was not the intended target of their drive-by shooting outside of a club in Rome on early Sunday morning.
Meannwhile, Bortuzzo awoke from his medically-induced coma on the same day. According to his father Franco Bortuzzo toItalian news outlet Corriere della Sera:
“He knew about the paralysis, but did not cry. I promised him that he will return to living like a normal person.
“He woke up and told me: I do not feel anything anymore,” Franco Bortuzzo continued. “He would like to go home, come to terms with his situation, and will soon be transferred to a rehabilitation clinic.”
The intubation tubes have been removed as well.
According to Italian Swimming Federation president Paolo Barelli, who remained close with the family, Manuel’s first words were to turn to his mother and say “be brave mother, now another training begins for me.”
“He has been reached by the solidarity of institutions and the sports world, by the affection and emotion of the whole of Italy,” Barelli said. “He felt the strength and knows he can count on a caring family, ready to support him and one much bigger than he imagined. He has become the son, the brother, the nephew of all those who do not accept to live in an environment hostage to violence.”