Thursday, November 05, 2009

Security officials freeze new gunpermits for foreigners after cop killing

(Photo:Al Dia/E. Vargas)(Tico Times) - Costa Rica's Public Security Ministry suspended the issuance of new gun permits to foreigners Wednesday, according to national media reports.

The move came on the heels of a shootout Tuesday between Jamaican assailants and Costa Rican police in the western San Jose suburb of Escazu, in which 30-year-old Judicial Investigation Police officer Randall Mauricio Lopez was shot dead, the daily La Nacion reported.

The deadly firefight started at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday a block and a half north of the cemetery of San Antonio de Escazu. The assailants also are suspected of involvement in the Oct. 29 murder of Milena Madriz, a 20-year-old university student, in the eastern San Jose neighborhood of Los Yoses.

The news comes amid a string of reports that point to an unprecedented rise in murders in Costa Rica. According to a report released last month by the United Nations Development Program, homicides here nearly doubled in eight years, rising from six per 100,000 people in 2000 to 11 per 100,000 in 2008.

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