San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police Investigate Officer’s Murder

Police have no suspects in the murder of a police officer who was killed in a shootout after he and three other cops responded to an assault call this week.

At a service at the Public Security Ministry headquarters in Barrio Cordoba, in southern San José, the country’s top officials turned out at a funeral service to lament the death of the fallen officer, José Chavarría, 45.

“It’s a shame,” said Immigration Police Director Francisco Castaing after the grim Monday morning service.

Chavarría was shot when he responded Saturday night to the scene of an assault in a home in Curridabat, east of San José, according to Public Security Ministry spokesman Jesús Ureña. Five suspects allegedly entered the home, tied up the family and had loaded up their car with a television and computer equipment when Chavarría and three other police arrived on the scene.

As the suspects headed for their getaway vehicle, a shootout began, and Chavarría was hit in the head, thorax and twice in the right leg. Red Cross emergency responders took him to the CalderónGuardiaHospital, where he died about 20 minutes after he was shot. Though no suspects have been detained for the murder, canine units found a glove, a radio and two bulletproof vests near the scene of the crime that may be valuable clues in locating the suspects.

Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal called Chavarría’s death a “lamentable loss that we can’t leave unpunished.” Chavarría was the first National Police officer to be killed on duty so far this year, though a traffic cop was shot and killed last month while on duty. It’s the first such tragic death since two young police officers were killed in a shootout last August while intervening in a robbery of passengers on a city bus in west San José (TT, Aug. 25, 2006).

Police also mourned the death of officer Iván Ramírez, 29, who died Saturday afternoon in an off-duty car accident in Ciudad Quesada in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone.


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