27-year-old killed by stray bullet while celebrating anniversary in Mexico

Posted at 8:26 PM, Jul 10, 2018

MEXICO CITY – Two gunmen on a motorcycle, apparently aiming for a bar bouncer in Mexico City, killed a 27-year-old California woman with a stray bullet as she reportedly was celebrating her first wedding anniversary, sources said.

Tatiana Mirutenko and her husband, James Hoover, were at a taqueria on Saturday with two friends in the exclusive Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood of the capital when the gunmen opened fire on a bouncer inside the establishment, according to a statement from the Mexico City attorney general's office.

Hoover and the couple's friends rushed her out of the establishment, the statement said. The 46-year-old bouncer from Huixquilucan, who worked at a bar in the nearby Polanco area, was transported to a hospital.

A Bureau of Consular Affairs official confirmed Mirutenko had died and said the US Embassy in Mexico City is providing assistance to her family.

"Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment," the official said.

Investigators have surveillance footage of the gunmen, which shows them fleeing toward Mexico state, the statement said. Mexico state surrounds Mexico City to the east, west and north. A manhunt is underway.

Hoover and Mirutenko were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary with three other couples and were trying to dine at as many Michelin-star restaurants as possible, reported CNN affiliate WLS in Chicago, where the woman's family lives.

"I am missing my sister, but also my best friend," Tatiana's sister, Roma Muritenko, told CNN in a phone interview. "I don't know how I'm going to survive without her, but with her memory and knowing how amazing she was to every single person that she ever came across, I will use that to incorporate into my life to be as great as she was to honor her memory."

Hoover returned to the States on Monday night, the sister said.

Mirutenko, a Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, native, attended Clemson University, where she played Division I volleyball, and she worked for a San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company.

Clemson economics professor Raymond Sauer said he doesn't remember many students from five years ago, but Mirutenko is an exception. She was "especially intelligent," worked hard and was often engaging others, he said. She was a staple in the economics department and was never afraid to ask questions or discuss course work.

"The students that are smart and that engage with people like she did are the ones you remember the most," Sauer said. "She was charting a course for her life, and really always thinking about the future and working really hard. ... You knew she would go places. This is why this death is so ironic -- a person like that would get caught up in something so random."

Her employer said she brought many of those same character traits to work with her at a San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company.

"Tatiana was a bright and passionate rising star on our Nektar Investor Relations team," said Jennifer Ruddock, a spokeswoman for Nektar Therapeutics. "She was always willing to help on any project across the company and had an incredibly strong work ethic. Many throughout Nektar, and outside the company, valued her positive energy, insight and sheer enthusiasm for life."