Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brother of man shot dead in Miami demands answers

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - The brother of a man shot to death by air marshals at Miami airport expressed anger at the killing on Thursday and said his family in Costa Rica would demand an explanation from the U.S. government.

Rolando Alpizar (pictured), 46, said the federal marshals should not have shot his brother, 44-year-old Rigoberto Alpizar, whom he described as a peaceful man who never had problems with authority.

"I'm outraged at a situation that should have been handled in different manner," Alpizar told Reuters at his home in a working-class suburb of the Costa Rican capital, San Jose.

Officials say Rigoberto Alpizar indicated he was carrying a bomb in his bag as he boarded the plane for a flight to Orlando on Wednesday. Law enforcement officials later said there was no sign of a bomb.

The Miami-Dade police department issued a statement on Thursday saying Rigoberto Alpizar's wife had told them her husband had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental condition also known as manic depression.

Rolando Alpizar said he had no knowledge of his brother suffering any mental illnesses. He also said his brother was very different than the way he was described by the media.

"He was friendly, caring, happy, and always very responsible," Alpizar said. "He worked hard and was honest. He never had any kind of problem with the authorities, not even a traffic ticket."

Alpizar said he would ask Costa Rican authorities to request an official explanation from the U.S. government.

Rigoberto Alpizar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, lived in the United States for nearly 20 years.

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