Lake Forest rampage: Man arrested in alleged stabbing, carjacking

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (KABC) -- The suspect in Tuesday's violent, bloody rampage in Lake Forest has been identified as a 25-year-old man from Anaheim.

A split image shows a suspect being arrested (left) after an alleged stabbing and carjacking in Lake Forest on April 17, 2019. A car allegedly stolen by the suspect is seen with blood stains (right).

An image shows a suspect being arrested (left) after an alleged stabbing and carjacking in Lake Forest. A car allegedly stolen by the suspect is seen with blood stains (right).

Susan Elliott/Citibeat News

The suspect, James Carlos Melendrez, of Anaheim, was arrested and booked into Orange County Jail on two counts of attempted murder, carjacking, and two attempted carjackings, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

He was being held on $2 million bail.

The alleged violent crime spree involved two home invasions, stabbing a woman multiple times and hitting a pedestrian with a stolen car, authorities say.

Sheriff's deputies say the incident started Tuesday evening when the suspect was involved in a confrontation at a Salvation Army store. He then ran off into a nearby neighborhood and broke into a woman's home.

As he broke the glass, he cut himself extensively and was bleeding as he entered the home.

A woman was inside with her two teen daughters.

Deputies say the suspect grabbed a kitchen knife inside the home. The mother fled the house, hoping he would follow her and leave her children alone, investigators said.

Jarring video captured the woman scream for help as the knife-wielding suspect chased her down a street.

The suspect chased after her, fell on top of the woman and stabbed her multiple times, deputies said. Family members say she was stabbed at least 20 times.

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Jarring video captures a woman scream for help as a knife-wielding suspect chases her down a street in Lake Forest on April 16, 2019.

At that point, a white BMW with three people inside stopped in the street.

Kelly Meyer said when she came upon the scene she was not sure exactly what was happening. She thought maybe the woman was in distress and the man was helping her. Then someone shouted that he had a knife.

"I look down and there's this big huge knife with blood all over it," she said.

The whole time, she said, he just had a grin on his face.

The suspect turned on Meyer and her companions, and then hopped into the car and took off.

As he fled in the BMW, he allegedly struck a female pedestrian.

He crashed in the area of Muirlands Boulevard and Aspan Street.

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A man was arrested in Lake Forest after a bloody, violent rampage that involved a stabbing, home invasions and hitting a pedestrian with a stolen car, officials say.

He then tried to break into a nearby senior living complex.

When that failed, he returned to the road.

He then tried to steal another car that was occupied by a woman and her daughter, officials said. The woman was wearing her seat belt and he was unable to pull her out of the driver's seat.

As he was attempting to pull her out, a bicyclist came by and used pepper spray on the suspect.

At that point he stumbled off and sat down on the sidewalk just as sheriff's deputies were arriving on the scene. They took him into custody without additional incident.

The female pedestrian who was struck by the vehicle is expected to recover. The woman who was stabbed multiple times is expected to survive, though witnesses say she was bleeding extensively.

The incident was terrifying for those who encountered the suspect.

"I know how scared I was," Meyer said. "I was shaking like a leaf and I'm still shaking."

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