A burglary suspect died during an exchange of bullets with police and a civilian and soon may become a test case for weapon use by someone who is not a police officer.
The Judicial Investigating Organization identified the dead man by the last names of Arias Fallas. He was 19.
The shooting happened in Los Ángeles de Brasil in Santa Ana about 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Two persons were looting a house, and a neighbor realized what was happening and called police on the 911 line, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.
When Fuerza Pública officers arrived, they were met with gunfire from one of the intruders. They returned fire. But also possible is that the neighbor engaged the man with his own weapon.
Friends of the dead man are calling for a full investigation, and some legal action by his family is likely.
Judicial agents confiscated two weapons, that of the neighbor and that of the dead man. First they want to see which weapon delivered the fatal bullet.
The dead man suffered a wound in the back.
Even though police were there, the second intruder fled, judicial agents said. Both men were described as residents of the area. Consequently the family of the dead man received notification quickly.
The shooting happened in the subdivision known as Vistas del Cañón, said judicial police.
Costa Rica does not have a so-called make-my-day law in which citizens are freed of responsibility if they shoot a crook. Even if such a law existed, this shooting happened outdoors, an area that generally is not covered by the laws that are popular in the United States. Still the neighbor, who was not identified, is expected to claim his life was threatened.
Some items taken from the home were found outside.
In another police case, a man died early Wednesday from bullet wounds received Friday. He was identified by the last names of Cárdenas Castro. He was a suspect in a Jan. 10 shooting of an telecommunicatiosn worker in the general area where he lived.
Police mounted a raid to detain Cárdenas at his home in 25 de Julio, Hatillo. About an hour before the 6 a.m. raid, three men intercepted Cárdenas as he was driving near his home and fired at him repeatedly. He died in Hospital San Juan de Dios.