A lone gunman, demanding justice from Mexican authorities he accused of helping swindle his mother, held the U.S. consular agent in Veracruz hostage for about 15 hours before releasing him unharmed early Friday.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Hugins said in Mexico City that consular agent Edwin Culp was released unhurt after the gunmen took Culp and his secretary hostage Thursday afternoon in Veracruz, 195 miles east of the Mexican capital.The gunman, identified as Francisco Delfin Perez, told United Press International by phone that he took Culp and secretary Teresa Oorts hostage because he admired the consular agent and thought holding him hostage would attract attention to his case.