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24-year-old US tourist shot in Costa Rica robbery gone wrong

April 21, 2014

On Saturday night, assailants robbed three U.S. tourists in Costa Rica’s capital San José in an attack that ended with one of the victims rushed to Calerdón Guardia Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) told The Tico Times that the 24-year-old victim, Leah Britton, was in stable condition on Monday.

Britton and two other tourists were walking in the Los Yoses neighborhood in eastern San José around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday when they were approached by men traveling in a gray car. Four suspects reportedly in their 20s stepped out of the vehicle and threatened the group with a gun. The attackers stole cash, cellphones and passports before telling the victims to lie on the ground.

An OIJ spokesman said Britton, after handing over her belongings, refused to lie down. One of the suspects then shot her. The attackers then fled in the same gray vehicle.

Britton was admitted to the Calerdón Guardia Hospital in the capital.

Jorge Zúñiga, spokesman for the OIJ, told The Tico Times that the police agency recommends robbery victims follow attackers’ orders and avoid fighting. Zúñiga added that suspects often are armed, and resistance could dangerously escalate a situation.

He added that Los Yoses, a neighborhood in eastern San José with many hostels, is not known as a dangerous part of the capital, and although robberies are rare, they do occur.

As of this post, OIJ investigators have not recovered any belongings or identified the four suspects. The investigation is ongoing.

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