KEMAH

A group of bystanders on Saturday helped police stop a woman in Kemah from being kidnapped from a city gas station, according to the Kemah Police Department.

Ernest Leon, 39, of Houston, was arrested during a traffic stop on FM 518 in Kemah on Saturday afternoon, according to police. Leon was charged with aggravated kidnapping and obstruction retaliation, according to Galveston County Jail records.

Moments before Leon's arrest, a man approached a woman at Texaco gas station while she was paying for gas and threatened her with a gun, Kemah Police Chief Walter Gant said. The man told the woman to drive him away from the gas station, Gant said.

"He wanted her to drive him to an unknown location," Gant said.

People inside the gas station at the time called police, Gant said. Officers were able to stop the car soon after it left the gas station and took Leon into custody, Gant said

It does not appear that Leon knew the woman, Gant said. The woman wasn't injured during the incident, he said.

Gant credited the witnesses at the gas station for acting quickly to stop the kidnapping.

"The officers did a great job responding quickly, and it was great having individuals get involved and actually say something and care enough to say something," Gant said.

Leon was held on a combined $500,000 bond, according to jail records. He was still in custody at the Galveston County Jail on Monday afternoon, according to jail records.

The incident is still under investigation, Gant said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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