San Jose - A startled taxi driver shot and wounded a joker wearing a plastic mask of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, police said.
Leonel Arias, 47, told police he was playing a practical joke by donning the Bin Laden mask, toting his pellet rifle and jumping out to scare drivers in Carrizal de Alajuela, 30km north of San Jose.
Arias had startled several drivers that way.
But when he jumped out in front of taxi driver Juan Pablo Sandoval, the motorist reached for a gun and shot him twice in the stomach.
He was admitted to hospital but is in a stable condition now.
"At a time like that one thinks the worst and so I fired my gun," Sandoval told Costa Rica's Channel 7 television. Police declined to arrest Sandoval, saying that he had believed he was acting in self-defence.