American cruise passenger, 70, snaps mugger's neck in Costa Rica

#1 staff & wires

February 23, 2007, 4:25 PM EST

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- An American senior citizen aboard a tour bus killed an alleged mugger by breaking his neck with his bare hands while his traveling companions fended off two other assailants in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, police said.

The American, who is about 70 years old and retired from the Marines, put the 20-year-old in a head lock and broke his neck after the suspect and two other men armed with a knife and .38 caliber gun held up the tour bus, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 80 miles east of San Jose.

"His neck was completely snapped," Hernandez said.

The suspect, Warner Segura, was later declared dead, apparently from asphyxiation.

The two other men fled when the 12 senior citizens defended themselves during Wednesday's attack.

"One of the tourists was a former Marine and he was probably the one who broke (Segura's) neck," Hernandez said.

The Americans had gotten off their tour bus to take photos in a notoriously rough neighborhood a short drive from Limon.

After the attack, they put Segura's body on their bus and found a police officer in Limon to report the incident. Afterward, the Red Cross treated one of the tourists for an anxiety attack, Hernandez said Thursday.

The tourists left on the Carnival cruise ship Liberty after the incident and Hernandez said authorities do not plan to press charges against them.

``They were in their right to defend themselves after being held up,'' he said.

Hernandez said Segura had previous charges against him for assaults.

In a media statement, Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines said the attack occurred during an outing at a Limon beach which a group of a dozen passengers had arranged on their own.

``According to witnesses, while sightseeing at a local beach, the group of guests were approached by three assailants, one of whom was armed,'' the statement said.

``The victims struggled with the armed perpetrator, and were able to disarm him. During this process, the gunman's two accomplices fled the scene. In the course of disarming and restraining the assailant, he died from apparent asphyxiation.''

Neither the Costa Rican police nor Carnival identified the man involved in the struggle with the mugger.

The cruise line said the guests were questioned by local law enforcement and then returned to the ship. The ship's departure from Limon was slightly delayed.

``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,'' according to the statement.

The ship is on an eight-day western Caribbean cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades on Feb. 17 with scheduled stops in Costa Maya, Mexico; Limon, Costa Rica; and Colon, Panama. It is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale early Sunday.

Staff Writer Macollvie Jean-Francois contributed to this report as did the Associated Press.
Copyright 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (external - login to view)

I read about that. It's pretty funny, actually.
It's getting tougher and tougher to be a mugger these days.

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