US tourist realized a robbery wasn't a joke when a masked
robber put a gun to her head and a military veteran
in her tour group grabbed the young assailant and killed
him with his bare hands.
"I thought it was a skit. But then
he pointed the gun at my head and grabbed me by the
throat and I thought I was going to die," Clova
Adams, 54, told The Associated Press by telephone from
the Carnival Liberty cruise ship on Friday, two days
after the thwarted robbery.
The assault took place during a ship
stopover in Limon, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of
San Jose, Costa Rica's capital.
Adams was part of a group of 12 American
tourists who hired a local driver to explore Costa Rica
foSr a few hours. They were climbing out of the van
to a visit a Caribbean beach when three masked men ran
toward them. One held a gun to her head, while the other
two pulled out knives.
Suddenly, one of the tourists, a US
military veteran estimated to be in his 70s, jumped
out of the van and put the gunman in a headlock, according
Limon police chief Luis Hernandez.
Hernandez said the man, whom he refused
to identify, struggled with the robber, breaking his
clavicle and eventually killing him. Police identified
the dead assailant as Warner Segura, 20. The other two
The US Embassy confirmed the account,
and also refused to release the name of the US tourist
who defended the group, citing his right to privacy.
Sergio Lopez, a Red Cross auxiliary,
examined Segura's body and said he died from asphyxiation.
Lopez also treated Adams for a panic
"She was very nervous after the
assault, but she had not she had not been physically
hurt," Lopez said.
Costa Rican officials interviewed the
group, but said they wouldn't charge the US tourist
with any crime because he acted in self defense.
"They were in their right to defend
themselves after being held up," Hernandez said.
He said Segura had previous charges
against him for assault.
The cruise ship delayed its departure
until the group was released and again boarded the ship,
The Carnival Liberty, which was set to return Sunday
to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Adams spoke with the AP until a man
who identified himself as her fiancee said they didn't
want to talk to the press. He said the group might release
a joint statement later, without elaborating. Adams
did not say what state or city she came from.
Costa Rica has struggled with growing
violence and crime in recent years. University of Kansas
student Shannon Martin, 23, was stabbed to death in
2001 after she left a nightclub in Golfito, 105 miles
(170 kilometers) south of San Jose.
Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed in a
statement that one of the ship's guests had killed the
Costa Rican assailant, but refused to name those involved.
"All of the guests involved, who
had booked the cruise together as a group, have opted
to continue with their vacation plans. Carnival is providing
full support and assistance to the guests," the