We Come Bearing Gifts

Miami reaches out to youngster hit by bullet with toys, lodging, food

Mayor Tomas Regalado and some concerned residents are pouring on the charm for a 6-year-old Italian tourist who was hit by a stray bullet during the late night New Year's celebrations here in Miami.

Little Andrea Fregonese will receive toys from the Mayor as he recuperates at Jackson Memorial hospital after taking a stray round to the stomach early Friday morning.

His family has also been offered the use of a furnished apartment close to the hospital, a cab company is offering to give them free rides around town, and a couple restaurants are also willing to provide food to the family during their time in Miami.

Fregonese was hit by a bullet as he and his family were celebrating the New Year outside Design District restaurant Mai Tardi  at 163 Northeast 39th St. Amid all the celebrations, his parents didn't realize he'd been hit until after he complained of a stomach ache and they were on their way to the hospital.

Though still in the hospital, Fregonese was released from the intensive care unit yesterday.

The incident happened despite police warnings about firing guns into the air prior to the Dec. 31 celebrations, giving the city some bad press over in Europe.

Regalado said he hopes the outpouring of local support can help change that negative image.

"The city of Miami cares, Jackson cares, the police department is doing whatever it can, so if you come to Miami, you will not be left alone and that's the message that we want to send," Regalado said during a visit to the hospital to see Fregonese yesterday.

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