A California mom is expected to survive after being stabbed 20 times while luring an intruder away from her daughters on Tuesday.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, James Carlos Melendrez, 25, got into a physical altercation around 5 p.m. before he fled to a nearby Lake Forest apartment building, KTLA reports.
#OCSDPIO Suspect in Lake Forest attempted murder is James Carlos Melendrez, 25, of Anaheim. He has been booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder, carjacking, and two attempted carjackings. He is being held on $2 million bail. pic.twitter.com/5A4NCYYH2y
— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) April 17, 2019
There, he entered an apartment unit before one of its two occupants chased him out. Melendrez then broke into the home of Marylou Villalobos Palos, 42, by breaking a back window.
Daily Mail reports that once he entered the home he grabbed a knife. Palos, who was in the house with her two teen daughters, ran out of the home to try and lure him away from the girls.
Evelyn Palos, the victims oldest daughter, described the scene as “something out of a horror movie,” KTLA reports.
The 15-year-old said:
“I was in the bathroom, and my sister was in her room.That’s just when I heard glass fall, and (Melendrez) went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife.”
Elizabeth Palos, 13, said she jumped from her bed when she heard the commotion.
Further, she said:
“I went and I saw blood everywhere, and I thought my mom was dead.”
Melendrez continued to chase Palos out of her home and down the street with the knife in his hand. A home security camera filmed part of the chase.
Palos can be heard screaming:
“He wants to kill me! He wants to kill me! Help!”
Melendrez eventually caught up with Palos and reportedly began stabbing her numerous times. However, multiple occupants of a BMW that was driving by stopped to intervene. In response, the suspect began chasing them with the knife.
Kelly Meyer, one of the people in the vehicle, said:
“He went after my friend Mary with a knife, and I ran one way, she ran the other and he chased him around the car, like, multiple times. And then he hopped in my car and he took it.”
Family is calling mom,Marylou Villalobos Palos,a hero. @OCSheriff says after James Melendrez broke into home & grabbed knife, she lured him away from teen daughters inside & got him to chase her into neighborhood where she was stabbed around 20x. She survived @KTLA pic.twitter.com/6Vrl1WaEC9
— Chip Yost (@ChipYost) April 17, 2019
After he stole the vehicle, deputies say Melendrez began driving recklessly and was involved in two hit-and-run collisions. One of those crashes left a female pedestrian injured.
After the second collision, he attempted to break into more homes and multiple cars. He was arrested after a cyclist pepper sprayed him.
Daniel Alexander told KTLA:
“He was either crazy as the day was long or he was on something, because he was just smiling the whole time, like he was having a good time.”
Enrique Palos, the stabbing victim’s husband, said the doctor told his wife she was extremely blessed to be alive and may be released soon if things progress.
The husband said:
“She’s a hero.”
Palos’ 13-year-old daughter seems to agree.
Elizabeth told the NY Post:
“She did save our lives. I’m grateful to have a mom like that.”
KTLA reports that Melendrez is now facing multiple charges for his crime spree. They include “two counts of attempted murder causing great bodily injury; two counts of attempted murder; two counts of attempted carjacking; two counts of battery; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a car; one count of assault with a deadly weapon, a knife; one count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury; one count of first-degree residential burglary; one count of attempted aggravated mayhem; and one count of aggravated trespassing of a dwelling.”
His arraignment is scheduled for May 17. He is being held on a $2 million bond.