A hotel guard in Costa Rica mistakenly shot dead a Kansas teenager, Justin Johnston, visiting on a school trip early Thursday morning. The guard mistook the teenager for a thief.
Johnston 16, snuck out of the La Cangreja Lodge hotel with another student at some point Wednesday night, according to the Kansas City Star. When the boys returned to the hotel at 4 AM Thursday, a dog barked and alerted the hotel guard.
Police told Reuters the guard shouted at the teenagers as they tried to re-enter their hotel room. This caused them to run, possibly to escape being caught for breaking curfew, and the guard to fire at and kill Johnston.
"It appears the hotel guard thought the guest was a thief," police said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.
The guard has been detained.
Johnston was on a McLouth High School trip with the Spanish Club, states the Kansas City Star.
It states that more than 300 people gathered at the United Methodist Church across the street from the high school Thursday evening to remember the teenager, who just finished his sophomore year. The mourners lit candles in silence.
The school superintendent, Steve Splichal, said in a statement: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnston family, as well as the many students, staff and families who are affected by this tragedy."