Only on 13: How a victim's brother and former friend allegedly nearly killed him during kidnapping

Mycah Hatfield Image
Sunday, May 7, 2023
Victim's brother, former friend accused of shooting and kidnapping him
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Only on 13: Three men are facing charges after a 20-year-old was allegedly followed, kidnapped, and shot by his brother and former friend.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 20-year-old man narrowly escaped death after he said he was followed, shot, and kidnapped by his brother, a former friend, and another man.

Richard Padilla, 25, the victim's brother; Didier Joel Ruiz, 22, a former friend of the victim; and Juan Olivia Gomez, 22, were all arrested and charged in the case. All three remain in jail.

The victim, who ABC13 decided not to identify for his safety, said he and his girlfriend left a club on Washington Avenue early Tuesday morning.

As they left the parking lot, he said two other vehicles started following him and trying to box him in.

"They hit (my car)," he said. "When they start hitting me, I know it's like something serious."

But he did not know at the time who was in the cars.

He headed west on Washington Avenue, got on the Katy Freeway, and the cars followed. According to the victim, they began shooting at his car upwards of 30 shots.

The 20-year-old said he started heading toward the Galleria area, hoping to find a police station or an officer that he could flag down. Meanwhile, his girlfriend was on the phone with 911.

"Tell her my name is -- and my birthday is --," he told his girlfriend. "Just in case, you know?"

When asked at that moment if he gave his information to the dispatcher because he thought he was going to die, the victim said, "Yes."

His car ended up coming to a stop on a residential street in Tanglewood because of the damage from the gunfire.

The other vehicles also stopped, and he said the people inside got out with a gun and shot him in the hand, pulled him out of the car, and pistol-whipped and kicked him. It was caught on nearby surveillance cameras.

His girlfriend was not struck.

The victim said he was put into the suspect's car, taken to meet someone else, and they swapped vehicles. From there, he was driven to an abandoned home on the northeast side of the city, where he stayed for hours.

During that time, he said they did not hurt him further. They removed the bullet from his hand that continued to bleed.

According to him, they forced him to open his girlfriend's phone that he kept with him, deleted text messages, and transferred money out of her accounts.

He overheard the suspects deciding not to kill him at that point because the sun had started to come up, and they would not be able to move his body.

"Talking about getting rid of me and if they know a place to dump me and they're talking about, 'I'm going to go get a shovel,'" the victim recalled.

The man said he tried to think of a way to escape, but they were constantly watching him.

He started to feel hopeless because he said he did not know how anyone would find him at the random location. He began hearing helicopters.

"I finally saw like a SWAT team guy, like in the back fence with a gun," the man said. "I just said, 'Help,' and that's when I got rescued."

He believes it was his girlfriend's phone that allowed police to find him.

Houston police were able to arrest Padilla, Ruiz, and Gomez at the scene.

The victim said he previously had a falling out with Ruiz, and he and his brother, Padilla, had an ongoing family feud.

"I never thought my own brother would have tried to kill me, like, or do that much to come try to kill me," the victim said. "If anything, I thought as brothers, or like, as men, we would probably fight it out."

He said he was not sure why they chose to target him the night they did because there had been no recent incidents.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Police investigating after man shot, kidnapped in Tanglewood neighborhood

Padilla is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and two counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

He is a father who works in home healthcare, according to a public defender in probable cause court. His bond is set at $230,000.

Ruiz is charged with aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. His bond is set at $400,000.

Gomez is charged with aggravated kidnapping and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. His bond is set at $165,000.

The victim is frightened and hopes the men do not make their bonds. He fears they will come after him again.

"Now, if they do get out, they're really going to be mad because they went to jail," the victim said.

He set up a GoFundMe account to help with his medical expenses and to find a new place to live.

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