Man accused of pouring fuel over girlfriend, home, before lighting it on fire

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Authorities have arrested a man for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend and pouring fuel over her and her home before lighting it on fire.

Rowan County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called around 1 a.m. on May 10 to the home on Chez Charolais Road. Dispatchers said the call was for a possible arson fire, and said a stabbing victim might also be at the scene.

When they arrived, deputies found a single-wide mobile home that was on fire.

During their investigation, authorities found motor fuel had been used in both the fire and assault.

Detectives believe the victim was at her home with her boyfriend, James Joseph Gunnerson, when he allegedly stabbed her in an argument. Investigators said then, Gunnerson poured fuel over over both her and the home before lighting it on fire.

The woman was able to get out of the burning home and went to a neighbor’s house for help. She had serious injuries and was flown to the hospital, where she remains in critical condition.

Firefighters who responded to the blaze encountered Gunnerson, who was still holding the knife, in the backyard of the home. Deputies had to shock him multiple times with a stun gun in order to arrest him, they said.

The suspect was also treated for burns in a hospital. On Friday, he was arrested in Forsyth County for first-degree arson and attempted first-degree murder and is being held in the Forsyth County jail. In court Wednesday, he was given a $2 million bond.

By Thursday, deputies said the victim was still in critical condition and is unable to communicate with investigators.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family,” deputies said in a news release.

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