Footage captures fight between feuding Costa Rica neighbors that ends with fatal gunfire

Neighbors feuding ended in tragedy Monday as a viral video that captured fists flying escalated to shots fired over a water valve.

At the Río Palma condominium in Guachipelín de Escazú, Costa Rica, years of tension between neighbors Eduardo Ramírez Zamora, 43, and Otoniel Orozco Mendoza, 53, boiled over mere weeks ahead of a trial for a previous alleged assault. Now, the former was believed to have committed premeditated homicide after a video captured his fatal response to an argument.

Surveillance footage circulating on social media captured the escalating argument between the wives before Zamora could be seen appearing to load his firearm before holstering it in his waistband. Moments later, finger-pointing between the husbands resulted in Mendoza throwing a haymaker at his neighbor who responded by drawing his gun and, according to La Nacion, firing at least 10 times.

Image via X
Image via X
Image via X

“We heard a loud argument outside; as we looked out, we could see where the neighbor was shooting the other neighbor, who unfortunately passed away. Once he was lying on the ground, the neighbor continued to shoot him without fear,” a neighbor recounted to The Tico Times as the video showed the man’s wife pulling him away with an expression of horror akin to that on the wife of the victim.

“The neighbor who caused the death of Mr. Otto already had many things against him for years. [Zamora] bothered him every time [Mendoza] went out, bothered his children and wife, he made derogatory comments regarding Mr. Otto’s nationality,” the witness continued. “He even questioned how it was possible that Nicaraguan could live in a place like this.”

As stated prior, La Nacion had reported that Zamora had a pending trial with a date set for July 2 for allegedly attacking Mendoza with a weapon on a separate occasion. It was further indicated that the neighbors had faced off against one another in court at least six times previously and that Monday’s dispute had been triggered over the shared use of a water valve.

“They always had problems. It had been going on for a long time. They even sued him, and nobody did anything,” said a family member of the victim to the Times. “Neither the Police Force nor the OIJ acted. I don’t know what happened, only that they argued. I do not understand that. How is that possible?”

The Judicial Investigation Department’s (OIJ) report was cited by the outlet and detailed that Mendoza had been shot in the thorax and legs and as a result, the Criminal Court of San José imposed three months of preventative detention on the suspect whose criminal lawyer Federico Campos contended had demonstrated premeditation for his actions handling his firearm in the moments before the fatal shooting.

La Nacion also reported that an AR-15 had been discovered at the suspect’s home, a weapon that criminologist Tania Molina explained was not prohibited but did require “training, and it takes years to acquire them. It is not so easy,” to get one she added.

Kevin Haggerty

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