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By Bryon Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 30, 1998

UA student kidnapped at gunpoint

Police say a UA student's calm composure probably saved his life early Tuesday during a cross-town jaunt that started with a gunpoint abduction near the UA College of Pharmacy.

Miguel Loustaunau, 22, said he pulled into a parking lot near East Mabel Street and North Martin Avenue about 3:30 a.m. and sat in his car for about 30 seconds to listen to the rest of a song on the radio.

Loustaunau, a molecular and cellular biology senior, got out of his car and was confronted by a man in a black jacket and black pants pointing a handgun at him.

The kidnapper forced Loustaunau back in the car and told him to drive west on East Speedway Boulevard until they reached a desert area near Silverbell Road, Loustaunau said yesterday.

"My mind was going 1,000 miles per hour about what was going to happen as soon as we got to the desert," he said.

The man got out of the vehicle and left as quickly as he had come up to the shaken student. The man did not ask for any money, even though Loustaunau said yesterday he had some money left over from cashing his paycheck.

"I think it was an isolated incident. Just a crazy (person) who was getting high," Loustaunau said, recalling how the man had been breathing heavily and holding the gun with a shaky hand.

Lt. Stella Bay, a Tucson police spokeswoman, said Loustaunau kept calm, and that's what probably saved his life.

"When people panic, that's when they get hurt," she said.

Loustaunau may have kept his composure throughout the ordeal, but he said his mind was filled with frightening thoughts.

Loustaunau, an international student from Hermosillo, Mexico, said his hands were "stiff" on his steering wheel and that he didn't even want to look into the rear-view mirror because he thought the man would believe he was trying to identify him.

He said the man didn't say anything until he yelled, "Stop, stop," as soon as they reached Silverbell.

"When he said 'stop,' I thought he was going to kill me," he said. "I didn't know what we were doing. I started thinking, 'OK, we're in the desert, we're in the middle of nowhere. He's gonna kill me. My life flashed before my eyes.

"He got out of the car and said, 'I'm getting out, and you'd better get out of here or I'll start shooting,'" Loustaunau said.

The student then drove to a nearby convenience store and called 911.

Bay said Tucson police are investigating the kidnapping. They are asking anybody with information to call 88-CRIME.

She added that a motive has not been determined because there wasn't a robbery involved.

Bay said the incident should be a reminder to both men and women to be cautious near their cars at night and always be aware of their immediate surroundings.

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