Man arrested after attacking woman and slashing car tires, roof at Melrose Towers

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ROANOKE, Va.- – 10 News is learning more about an attack on a woman at a Roanoke housing complex that ended with a viral act of kindness from Roanoke City firefighters. Several of the people involved in the incident say they were victims as well.

Duct tape is covering holes in the roof of Robin Kegley's car. He says the damage is the result of a woman running for help and jumped into the back seat of his car.

"She says, 'Take me to the hospital, I've been stabbed,'" said Kegley. 

Kegley and his friends had just pulled in the parking lot of their home at Melrose Towers last Friday night. 

"I asked her three different times to get out the car and she said, 'No I'm not going nowhere,'" said Kegley. 

He says the woman's boyfriend was coming after her with a knife.

"[He] started slashing my tires. Then he's on top of my car, stabbing my roof and then he tries to break the windows out of my car, just to try to get her. He said, 'I'm going to kill you,'"  said Kegley. 

Janine Vandenberg was sitting in the passenger seat. 

"I really thought we were dead and would not make it out of the car," said Janine Vandenberg. 

The situation left Kegley's car with flat tires. Vandenburg posted on Facebook that her friend could not afford new tires. She then recorded video of Roanoke Fire and EMS replacing them with an old set, according to Kegley.  

'You are a true blessing. It's amazing to have something like that happened at Melrose Towers,"  said Vandenberg. 

"I also shook quite a few of firefighters hands and told them I really appreciate it and everything they done. Good job,"  said Kegley.

Kegley says he's no hero, and believes he and his friends are victims in this dangerous situation. Police arrested Jerry Lee Phillips in connection with the cincident. Charges he faces include malicious wounding and property damage. Kegley was able to get brand new tires, thanks to his brother.

Below is the official release from Roanoke City Police on the incident:


On May 17, 2019 at around 8:00 pm, officers were dispatched to Melrose Towers in reference to an aggravated assault. Dispatch advised the suspect was still on scene and armed with a large knife.
Responding officers located the suspect -- later identified as 42-year-old Jerry Phillips of Roanoke -- who was holding the knife. Officers commanded Phillips to drop the knife. Phillips did drop the knife, but refused to follow any other verbal commands. He was subsequently arrested and began making threats to harm officers and the residents of Melrose Towers.
An adult female victim was located on scene. The victim had several lacerations to her fingers that she stated were caused by Phillips. She advised Phillips had chased her out of Melrose Towers after assaulting her with the knife. She told officers she climbed into an occupied vehicle to get away from Phillips. Phillips proceeded to cause significant damage to the car with a knife until officers responded.
Jerry Phillips was charged with Threatening to Bomb/Burn a Building, Felony and Misdemeanor Property Damages, Malicious Wounding, Misdemeanor for Preventing a Call to 911, Misdemeanor Threats to Kill Law Enforcement, and Drunk in Public.


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