American tourist shot while on vacation in Turks and Caicos

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida -- An American tourist was shot while vacationing in Turks and Caicos.

The victim was taken by helicopter to Fort Lauderdale, where he is in the hospital.

Officials in Turks and Caicos say the 57-year-old man was attacked by masked gunmen Friday night inside his vacation rental home.

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The home's security guard had been tied up with his own shoelaces during the incident.

The incident comes a little more than a month after a man from Alabama was shot during an armed robbery in Turks and Caicos.

The Turks and Caicos Ministry of Tourism issued a statement regarding the incident to ABC11:

"These recent acts will not be tolerated by the people of our beautiful islands.

The country of the Turks & Caicos includes 40 islands and cays, 12 of which are inhabited and visited by more than 450,000 annual tourists by plane, and an additional 800,000 cruise ship tourists arriving to Grand Turk Cruise Port each year. To us, that's more than a million reasons why protecting tourists is a major government priority and as such we have maintained a historical low rate of crime over the years. There has been no change in our status with the US State Department, which has not issued a travel warning to our islands.

However, we maintain that these recent incidents are unacceptable and we are working closely as a country and with the community to heighten efforts even further to prevent any future acts of crime, of any degree. We have increased our police presence, specifically in highly visited areas; added additional patrol cars to the streets with a focus on residential areas that feature villa and home rentals; are working with community leaders to put neighborhood efforts in to place; and are working hand in hand with the TCHTA to monitor hotel and resort areas vehemently and working with hotels' internal security teams. We are taking action and using all means available to combat this.

Safety for all visitors is a priority island wide and we will continue to work vigilantly to maintain our reputation as a low crime destination. We stand united in our fight to continue to keep it a positive and welcoming environment for our visitors."
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