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Couple From Italy Survives New Florida Tourist Attack

From Associated Press

An Italian couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary were shot repeatedly but survived a robbery near Walt Disney World in this tourist mecca’s second recent attack on foreign visitors.

Three men sped off in a car after the couple were shot Wednesday night near a hotel, sheriff’s Lt. July Rivers said. The two were in stable condition Thursday at a hospital.

The visitors lost their bearings as they walked on a road toward the hotel after shopping at a nearby mall, the 47-year-old woman said through an interpreter. The couple apparently were trailed by two men.

The shooting began after the 49-year-old man resisted the holdup, his wife told investigators. Witnesses said the two men jumped into a waiting car after shots were fired, leaving the victims lying on the pavement.

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“We believe they took some personal items,” Rivers said.

Osceola County officials were trying to contact the couple’s relatives in Rome before releasing their names, Rivers said. Each was shot several times.

The woman said they arrived in Orlando on Sunday to celebrate their 25th anniversary. They had been scheduled to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, today to take a weeklong cruise.

On Aug. 16, a British tourist was shot and wounded in the left arm when she and her sister-in-law resisted an armed robber outside their motel room in the same tourist area.

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Crime against tourists--10 foreign visitors were killed in Florida between October, 1992, and April, 1994--is believed to be a major reason for a drop in Florida travel by Europeans.

Industry officials say the state is experiencing its worst tourist season in two decades.


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