LONG VALLEY, N.J. (AP) — A woman who was shot twice in the chest by a former Olympic equestrian athlete said her recovery has been overtaken by brutal online comments blaming her for the attack.
Lauren Kanarek told The New York Times that the first thing she saw after her first week of recovery from the Aug. 7 shooting were online comments wishing her dead.
“They know there is a person suffering multiple gunshot wounds, bullet wounds,” Kanarek told the Times. “To say those things, is something no one could ever imagine.”
Kanarek and her fiance, Robert Goodwin, had moved into a farmhouse owned by Michael Barisone, a rider renowned in the dressage community, for training.
But tensions escalated after Barisone tried to kick them out because of flooding that caused him and his fiancee to move out of their residence, she said.
Barisone wanted them to move out so he and his fiancee could move into where they were living, but they refused, Kanarek said.
In the weeks before the shooting, Barisone called 911 several times claiming Kanarek and her fiance were squatters.
The situation culminated with Kanarek being shot twice in the chest, leading to her being placed in a medically induced coma and an extensive surgery to repair damage to her left lung.
Barisone has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and says the shooting was self-defense. His lawyer did not respond to requests for comment from the Times.
Barisone appeared in court in August with his left arm in a sling, the result of a confrontation with Goodwin, who wrestled Barisone to the ground after he allegedly shot at him, too, but missed.
Barisone’s online support is partially due to his success from winning a team bronze for United States Dressage in the 2016 Olympics.
Kanarek has replied to several comments about her online, reminding the people that she was nearly killed.
“No matter what — I was shot twice. It was not in self-defense. While plenty more story exists, what else matters?” she wrote in one response. “Do you condone trainers shooting their students trying to kill them? Sure looks that way.”