LAKE FOREST, Calif. (FOX 11) - A nightmarish scene unfolded in a quiet suburban Lake Forest neighborhood. A home security camera captured a mother of two running for her life and screaming for help.
The suspect is seen wearing a yellow shirt carrying a knife and eventually catches up to the victim and begins stabbing her off-camera. Authorities later identified the suspect as 25-year-old James Melendrez of Anaheim.
During the incident, frantic neighbors ran to help. A couple going to dinner at the time stopped to help and quickly realized the suspect was holding a bloody knife.
Investigators say Melendrez then stole the couple's car and drove off before colliding with a woman in her 50s who was walking on the sidewalk just a few blocks away. Melendrez was caught when a cyclist passing by pepper sprayed him.
The attack was part of a violent crime spree that began on Tuesday at a Salvation Army store on Rockfield Boulevard. Authorities say Melendrez got into a fight there and ran away. He then tried to break into a nearby apartment but the homeowner chased him away. Minutes later, he ended up at the home of the stabbing victim on Danby Drive, according to authorities.
Both women suffered critical injuries in the attack that lasted approximately nine minutes but officials say they are expected to survive.
Melendrez has been booked into Orange County Jail on two counts of attempted murder and carjacking. He is being held on $2 million bail.