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U.S. Teen Murdered by Hotel Security Guard in Costa Rica


A 34-year-old hotel security guard at La Cangreja Lodge in La Fortuna, San Carlos, in north-central Costa Rica, shot and killed a high school student from Kansas early Thursday. Justin Johnston, 16, a student from McLouth High School, in McLouth, Kansas, in the U.S, died soon after he was shot.

According to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), two students left their rooms in the hotel late at night. When they returned, they passed close to an adjoining property with a barbed-wire fence to avoid being noticed. A dog barked, startling the students and alerting a hotel guard to their presence, the daily La Nación reported.

Police said the guard fired a warning shot into the air, frightening the teenagers, who began running towards the hotel. Thinking he was being attacked, the guard, identified as Jorge Guevara, shot and fatally wounded Johnston, La Nación reported, citing the OIJ.

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Johnston’s death was the second time a northeast Kansas student was killed while on an educational trip to Costa Rica, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. Shannon Lucile Martin was only a few days from graduating from the University of Kansas in May, 2001, when she was murdered in Golfito, Costa Rica, while walking to her residence. She had been in Golfito finishing a class project to collect rare fern samples.

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