CORNELIUS, Ore. – Melinda Gunzenhauser was covered in gasoline and fearing for her life.
“I really felt like I was going to die,” she said. “Because if he had got ahold of one match or lighter, it would’ve been gone.”
The Cornelius mother said her boyfriend, Amaury Lopez, poured gasoline on her and himself after she told him she wanted to separate on Saturday.
“He went into the bedroom and started pouring gas all over himself, saying he’s going to kill himself,” said Gunzenhauser. “That’s when I told the kids we needed to leave. So they ran outside and I gave my daughter my phone when I realized I didn’t have my keys.”
Gunzenhauser said her two young daughters got outside safely, but when she went back in to get her keys Lopez poured gas on her and tried to pull her into the bedroom.
“He dumped it over my head so it’s all in my hair,” she said. “My hair still smells like gasoline.”
Her shirt ripped during the struggle, releasing her from Lopez's grasp. Gunzenhauser ran out of the house.
Her 8-year-old daughter heard the struggle and called 9-1-1 while her mother was still inside. Gunzenhauser said her daughter did not know their address, but a neighbor who was passing by on the street helped her give the address to the dispatcher.
“I let her know that she saved mommy’s life and she’s very brave and a good kid,” said Gunzenhauser.
Lopez (right) barricaded himself inside the home after Gunzenhauser escaped, police said. Police took him into custody after a standoff that lasted nearly five hours.
There was so much gasoline in the house that police and firefighters evacuated neighboring homes.
Lopez is in a hospital and will be taken to jail when he’s released. He faces charges of attempted murder, assault, kidnapping and domestic violence, police said.
KATU News has learned that Lopez's ex-wife filed a restraining order against him.
“I was thinking my kids are going to have to listen to me scream and die,” said Gunzenhauser. “I had to get out for them.”
If you or someone you know is having trouble with domestic violence, you can call the 24-hour national domestic violence hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).