Autopsy shows Honduran soccer player was shot 18 times in hometown attack

Prosecutors said Friday that an autopsy shows Honduran national soccer team player Arnold Peralta suffered 18 gunshot wounds in what they called a "vicious attack."

Peralta was killed Thursday when he was attacked at a shopping mall in his hometown.

The statement from the chief prosecutors' office says Peralta "was viciously attacked, and he died of multiple gunshot wounds to the skull, face and chest."

The killing occurred at the parking lot of the Uniplaza mall in La Ceiba, on the country's Caribbean coast. Police said two men on a motorcycle sprayed Peralta with bullets. Another soccer player who was with him at the time was unharmed.

Peralta was on vacation following the conclusion of the Honduran national league season. He earlier played for the Rangers Football Club in Scotland.

Police said Friday no suspects were in custody and the motive for the attack was unknown. Officials ruled out robbery as a possible motive, because Peralta still had all his possessions, including his Porsche SUV.

In June, suspected gang members killed his cousin, Bayron Josue Peralta, 28, at his home in La Ceiba.

The country is plagued by gang violence and has one of the world's highest homicide rates.

The player's father, Carlos Peralta, confirmed the death at a news conference. "This is terrible. They killed my exemplary son. I can't say more because of the pain I feel."

Osman Madrid, director of Honduras' national soccer federation, said, "This is a tragic death that the national sport mourns."

Peralta, a 26-year-old midfielder, joined Club Deportivo Olimpia in the Honduran national soccer league this year. Olimpia was eliminated from the league's semifinal last weekend by its archrival, Motagua.

The soccer club expressed its condolences through its official Twitter account.

Peralta had been scheduled to play in the national team's friendly match against Cuba next week. He'd also played for Club Deportivo Vida in Honduras.

He represented Honduras at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2012 Olympic Games in London and had been captain of Honduras' sub-20 national team.