Marylou Villalobos Palos shouted for help as a California man armed with a knife chased her through a neighborhood in Lake Forest, California, video shows.
Palos, 42, was running away from 25-year-old James Carlos Melendrez, police say, as the man went on a wild 9-minute rampage Tuesday that involved carjacking a BMW, running into a pedestrian and then crashing into another vehicle.
Police say the man, who was arrested after a bicyclist pepper-sprayed him, also broke into Palos’ home and grabbed a kitchen knife.
Both of her daughters, ages 13 and 15, were inside the home when police say the stranger broke in after shattering a window, according to KTLA5. So Palos tried to lure the man away from her daughters by running out of the house and into the surrounding neighborhood.
Evelyn Palos, 15, recalled the frightening moments before her mom sprinted outside as the knife-wielding man ran after her.
“I was in the bathroom, and my sister was in her room,” Evelyn said, according to KTLA5. “That’s just when I heard glass fall, and (Melendrez) went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife.”
Her 13-year-old sister, Elizabeth, told CBSLA that their mom “did save our lives.”
“That’s an awesome thing; My mom is the best,” Elizabeth said, according to CBSLA. ”I love her so much. I’m grateful to have a mom like that.”
Surveillance video obtained by KTLA5 from a nearby house shows Palos running and screaming “help” as she makes her way down a neighborhood street.
A man whom police identified as Melendrez runs after the woman, whose pace begins to slow before she runs out of sight, the video shows.
Melendrez eventually stabbed Palos about 20 times “around the face, neck and upper body,” police say, according to CBSLA.
Enrique Palos called his wife “a hero” as she recovers in the hospital, according to KTLA5.
Melendrez has a $2 million bail as he faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated mayhem and burglary, among others, according to The Orange County Register.
“A motive for his alleged attacks wasn’t known,” the newspaper reported.