Mexican soccer star, Alan Pulido, managed to fight off his kidnappers and free himself after being held captive for about 24 hours.
Pulido, 25, was abducted by three men on May 28 when he was leaving a party in Tamaulipas, Mexico, with his girlfriend. His partner was unharmed and was not taken.
An official summary report shows Pulido made three calls to an emergency operator. Pulido said he was left alone with one of the captors and decided to take action.
The forward for Olympiakos in the Greek league wrestled away the kidnapper’s .50 calibre gun and shot him with it. Pulido then took the kidnapper’s cellphone and dialed for help, according to Mexico’s Proceso.com.
Pulido, who is 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, was the main actor in his own escape, dismissing previous accounts of a police rescue.
During one of the emergency calls, Pulido is heard threatening and beating his captor while on the phone, demanding the kidnapper to tell him where they were.
Pulido then went on to describe the white two-story house he was in with two vehicles (one grey, one red) parked out front.
By the second call, police had arrived at the scene. The operator then told Pulido to fire the weapon so authorities were sure they were at the right spot, but the gun had no more bullets.
The dispatcher told Pulido to make noise so authorities could hear him. He then broke a glass window to signal the police to enter the house.
Pulido also described what clothes he was wearing—shorts and multi-colored tank top—so authorities wouldn’t confuse him with the kidnapper, who was unconscious.
In the third call, Pulido was already with authorities, but called the dispatcher to make sure the police were trustworthy.
Pulido was free only a few minutes after he had made the first call.
Tamaulipas state Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla had said at a news conference that emergency services received Pulido’s call for help after midnight on May 29 due to “a careless act by his captors.”
In a later interview with Imagen Radio, Quintanilla confirmed that the soccer player had forcibly taken the phone away from his captor.
“There was an exchange of punches between them,” Quintanilla said, though he did not mention the gun.
Quintanilla said Pulido cut his wrist when he broke a window.
When Pulido was first kidnapped, his girlfriend put out the alert.
“Everyone began to activate to look for him, especially when we knew who he was, because we knew it was going to make a big ruckus and was going to be affecting us a lot in the press,” Quintanilla said.
The army and federal and state police participated in the search for Pulido, as well as three helicopters.
Pulido’s family received the first ransom call around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and a second one a short time later, Quintanilla said. Authorities believe the kidnappers were only motivated for financial reasons. The captors asked for $325,000—which was not paid.
The suspect is a 38-year-old from the state of Veracruz, a member of one of the criminal organizations operating in the city. Three other suspects were identified and a search was underway, officials said.
After he was freed, the soccer player was taken for medical and psychological review and then provided a testimony to officials.
In a brief appearance before reporters, Pulido responded only to a question about how he was.
“Very well, thank God,” he said.
On May 30, Pulido went on Twitter to thank everyone who had prayed for his family. He also thanked authorities for their help.
Pulido’s Greek team went on social media to express their relief.
“Alan is safe and sound with his family. We thank everyone for their concern and prayers during the difficult moments he has lived,” Olympiakos said via Twitter.
The soccer player made his professional debut with the club Tigres of Monterrey, Mexico, but after four seasons he signed a 2014 contract with Olympiakos.
However, Pulido has been in a legal dispute with Tigres over whether his Mexican contract remains valid.
He was on Mexico’s 2014 World Cup team, but was not called up for next month’s Copa America because of his contract troubles.
Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, has been overcome by violence in recent years as the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels battle for control. Both organizations also are involved in theft, extortion, and kidnappings.
There were 41 reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas in the first four months of this year compared to 78 during the same period last year, according to government numbers. The actual number is believed to be much higher since most people do not report kidnappings to officials.
From January to April 2016, there were 179 homicides in the state, compared to 211 during the same period last year.
Pulido’s family said they will no longer live in Tamaulipas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.