An Uber driver was between passengers when he drove past what he thought was a dead animal on an isolated road in Minnesota at 2.30am on June 9, and just as he was about to continue driving, he realised it was a woman screaming for help.
As he approached the hysterical woman, he saw she was bleeding heavily from a gun wound to her chest, he put her in the back of his car and dialled emergency services.
The woman told authorities that she had been kidnapped by gang members she owed money to after she purchased a gun from them. When she couldn’t pay up, they kidnapped her, shot her and left her for dead.
The 39-year-old woman, who has not been named, remains in hospital in a critical condition.
Two men believed to be in the same gang have been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping after a week-long manhunt.
Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza, 23, and Angel Sardina-Padilla, 31, along with two other people, reportedly stormed the woman’s home, demanding money and the gun she had bought from them.
Mr Sardina-Padilla allegedly heated a metal tool and threatened to burn the woman before he and Mr Cortez Mendoza abducted the woman, drugged her with sleeping tablets and drove her around for hours.
The woman was left alone in the vehicle with Cortez Mendoza, who drove her to an empty road and ordered her out of the car before shooting her, leaving her for dead.
Mr Cortez Mendoza, who is branded with the number 13, told authorities that he and Mr Sardina-Padilla are members of the gang ‘Sureños 13’ and Mr Sardina-Padilla had ordered him to kill the woman.
Mr Cortez Mendoza said he gave the gun to Mr Sardina-Padilla and painted the car black at Mr Sardina-Padilla’s request.
Both Mr Cortez Mendoza and Mr Sardina-Padilla remain in custody, awaiting trial.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.