Man charged with stabbing girlfriend, dousing her with gas and lighting fire

Published 2:19 pm Monday, May 13, 2024

ROWAN COUNTY — A man has been arrested after deputies said he stabbed his girlfriend before dousing her and a residence they were in with motor fuel and lighting it on fire.

Deputies initially responded at approximately 12:55 a.m. on Friday to a home in the 1200 block of Chez Charolais Road in reference to a possible arson and a possible stabbing, according to a release from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies reportedly arrived on scene and found a mobile home on fire.

Firefighters that responded to the scene were confronted by 49-year-old James Joseph Gunnerson in the backyard of the property, according to the release. Deputies reportedly tased Gunnerson multiple times before taking him into custody.

According to the release, investigators determined that motor fuel was used in the arson. Detectives reportedly discovered that Gunnerson got into a domestic argument with his girlfriend, which resulted in him allegedly stabbing her with a knife. After he stabbed the victim, Gunnerson allegedly doused her and the home in motor fuel and lit it on fire.

The victim was able to escape the fire and make it to the neighbor’s house, where she asked for help. She suffered serious injuries and burns and was airlifted to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist hospital, where she remains in critical condition.

Gunnerson also suffered burns in the incident and was transported to the same hospital. After being released, he was arrested on Friday by deputies with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

Gunnerson has been charged with first-degree arson and attempted first-degree murder. He was placed in the Forsyth County Detention Center and is being held without bond.