LAKE FOREST, Ca. – Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies have arrested James Carlos Melendrez, 25, of Anaheim, on suspicion of multiple offenses including attempted murder, carjacking and felony hit and run.
The incidents occurred in the city of Lake Forest, beginning this evening around 5 p.m. near the Salvation Army store on Rockfield Blvd. The suspect was involved in a physical altercation near the store, and then fled into an apartment complex on Ridge Route Drive. He entered a residence occupied by a male and female. He was confronted by the male inside the residence, and fled.
The suspect then ran across Rockfield into a residential neighborhood. He entered a home on Danby Drive occupied by a woman and two juveniles by smashing a back window. The suspect entered the home and armed himself with a knife. The woman fled into the neighborhood in an effort to lure the suspect away from the teenagers. The suspect chased the female down Danby Drive onto Mullin Road and stabbed the female multiple times.
During the stabbing, multiple subjects a white BMW driving through the neighborhood stopped to assist. The suspect began chasing the subjects and then carjacked their vehicle. The female stabbing victim was transported to the hospital by the Orange County Fire Authority in critical condition.
The suspect then exited the neighborhood driving onto Lake Forest Drive and Muirlands Blvd. He was driving erratically into oncoming traffic. A felony hit-and-run collision occurred on Muirlands Blvd. when the suspect struck a pedestrian who was walking on the sidewalk. The pedestrian, a female in her 50s, was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
The suspect then drove onto Aspan Street where he collided with another vehicle. He exited the vehicle and fled the area on foot into a trailer park across Muirlands Blvd. He attempted to break into a residence and was unsuccessful. He then attempted to carjack multiple vehicles on Muirlands Blvd. A cyclist passing the scene pepper sprayed the suspect and deputies arrived on scene and arrested him. It was a total of nine minutes from the time Dispatch received the first call to the time when the suspect was in custody.
The suspect was transported to the hospital prior to being booked into Orange County Jail. He will be booked on suspicion of attempted murder, carjacking, felony hit and run, among multiple additional offenses.
We believe there is no further threat to the community. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.