Kidnapper cries to victim about wife leaving him, then puts down gun, Texas woman says

Texas police say a college student’s ability to stay calm when she was violently kidnapped is the reason she’s still alive.

The woman was paying for fuel at a gas station in Kemah, located southeast of Houston, when an armed kidnapper told her to get in the car and drive Saturday afternoon, police told the Galveston County Daily News.

People inside the gas station quickly called 911 as the vehicle left, police wrote on Facebook.

Inside the car, 21-year-old University of Houston-Clear Lake college student Shasta Blackerby says she stayed calm even after the kidnapper shot his gun into the air during the abduction, according to KTRK. In a “very low voice,” she asked the man what was wrong, and he told her his wife had left him, the Houston TV station reported.

“He started crying in the car,” Blackerby told KTRK.

Then police officers arrived and stopped the car, the Galveston County Daily News reported.

“The quick actions of the two witnesses to call 911 and give a visual description of the suspect and vehicle were vital to the survival of the victim,” Police Chief Walter Gant wrote on Facebook. “The victim’s ability to remain calm under the violent circumstances saved her life.”

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Houston resident Ernest Leon Jr., 39, was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping and obstruction/retaliation, according to court records. Leon was being held in Galveston County jail on $500,000 bond, according to online records.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.