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Fresno man stabs girlfriend, set house on fire, police say

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A man who Fresno police say stabbed his girlfriend and then set their apartment on fire is in custody after being captured by angry neighbors.

Adrian Verdugo is the man accused of stabbing his girlfriend and trying to burn down her home. It happened at Belmont and Dianna in the Lowell neighborhood.

Fresno firefighters came out in force to respond to a confusing and chaotic situation. The fire in the upstairs apartment was no accident.

Fresno Battalion Chief Chuck Tobias said, "This was an arson fire we have a suspect that is in custody right now."

The suspect, identified by neighbors and the victim's family as her boyfriend is accused of stabbing the victim repeatedly.

Neighbor Johnny Hames and one of the victim's daughters raced upstairs and the daughter tried to protect her mother.

"And she grabbed a hammer and started beating the hell out of him with a hammer and he ran off," said Hames. "And then we got her to the hospital as quick as possible. I wasn't gonna wait all day and let her bleed to death, right there."

They say she had been stabbed at least three times in the abdomen. A neighbor told ABC30 she had also been stabbed in the chest Sunday night, and had been coughing up blood but her boyfriend wouldn't let her get help. The victim's family members told us the suspect had just been released from prison and is a gang member. They want him to stay locked up.

Trindad Flores said, "Right now as far as I know they are going to get him for attempted murder, and arson. I hope they don't let him go man."

And they are praying for the victim.

"She's a beautiful nice girl yes, she's been trying to do everything get things taken care of and this happens to her, it's not right."

The victim's family tells ABC30 they believe she is in critical condition. She underwent surgery Monday evening. Police have so far only charged Verdugo with corporal battery on a spouse and assault with a deadly weapon. They are still investigating the arson case.

Verdugo was injured by the victim's daughter, and by neighbors who caught him running from the scene. He is in the Fresno County jail. At Community Regional Medical Center.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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