RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — A 32-year-old Tequesta woman was shot while on the beach at Singer Island.
"Maria's fiancé called frantically and said that Maria had been shot and we just screamed," Chris Tritico, the father of Maria Tritico, told WPTV.
Tritico said he was celebrating his wife's 60th birthday in Houston, where he lives. It was Sunday. It was also when he said he got the call their daughter had been shot.
He said they quickly booked flights to Florida.
"I was hoping and praying that I wasn't going to find what I did. It couldn't have been any worse," he said.
According to Riviera Beach police investigators, a woman was shot Sunday afternoon next to the beach. Multiple shots were fired. Tritico said his daughter was the victim of the shooting.
Jennifer Schneider said she was working at Wings Beachwear when the shooting happened. She said some people came running into the store. Schneider said she looked out the window to see what was happening.
"I just seen a whole bunch of police and lifeguards surrounding her and they were doing compressions and there was still people running from off the beach all around here," she said. "It was crazy."
Tritico said Monday afternoon he had to make the painful decision to take Maria off life support.
"She was a bright shining light who was moving up and moving forward and she was stolen from us," he said.
Maria worked at the Lighthouse Art Center in Tequesta as the director of education. WPTV has interviewed her several times through the years.
Her father said she loved helping others through art.
"When Maria sees a person who is sick, she sees someone she can fix through therapy," he said.
The Riviera Beach Police Department said the case is an ongoing investigation.
Maria's memorial service will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tequesta.