Street justice resulted in the death of one man and may have been the reason why eight young people were shot as they stood at a Zapote bus stop. Both crimes happened Sunday.
The death was in southern Costa Rica in a location called Cuatro Bocas de Corredores. There the body of a man with the last name of Acuña turned up on a street. The 26-year-old man had been beaten to death. On his person investigators found what appeared to be loot from a burglary. Among these items was a cell telephone.
Sometime later, two men were apprehended driving near the scene. Agents said they had more items that may have been stolen in their vehicle. They said they believed the pair were implicated in the same burglary.
After questioning the men, agents detained the owner of a nearby home and alleged that he had participated in the fatal beating of Acuña. An autopsy is planned.
In Zapote the group of young people, ranging in
age from 14 to 19 were on the street when a vehicle drove by and shots were fired.
The time was about 8:30 p.m. Four of the shooting victims were girls. Three were 14 and one was 16.
All but one person was treated and released at a hospital. One remains there.
Agents can only speculate on why the shooting took place. Sometimes when an individual is killed, police and news broadcasters call the killing an ajuste de cuentas or an adjustment of accounts.
That tends to suggest that the shooting was justified by a past action. Frequently the dead individual was a low-level drug dealer.
Still there is a tradition in Costa Rica that neighbors punish crooks they catch because they do not expect the judicial system to do so. Nearly always police intervene and save the thief or robber from death.
As crimes continue in Costa Rica and the judicial system continues to remain weak, the danger exists that more citizens will take the law into their own hands.