San Rafael residents save woman from brutal attack in her home

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Three people saved a woman from a brutal stabbing by an intruder Saturday morning.

Tori Berghoff was cooking eggs for her family, when she heard a scream.

“I have kids, so I know different kinds of screams,” said Berghoff.

“This was fear. It was deep fear. She was screaming, ‘Help, help, get off me.”

Berghoff ran outside as neighbor Bill Gaito ran into the street.

Gaito was coaching a young softball player in the backyard when he heard the screams.

He and the girl’s father ran to the house where the woman was continuing to scream. Berghoff called 911.

“I knew someone was getting hurt and it was not a good situation.”

The two men looked through a locked gate at the side fence and immediately jumped into action.

 “I was with a fellow named Kevin Hessleton,” said Gaito.

“Without a moment’s hesitation he jumped up and launched over the gate.”

 “It’s a tall fence,” said Berghoff.

“He flew over that thing. It was amazing.”

The Marin County Sheriffs Office said Charles Tooker tried to stab his ex-girlfriend to death with a pair of garden shears.

Heselton tackled Tooker and pinned him to the ground by his neck and shoulders. Gaito broke open the gate and pulled the victim to the street to check her injuries.

“His quote, according to her, was ‘I’ve come to kill you. I’ll kill you,” said Gaito.  

 “She was covered in blood and debris all over her,” said Berghoff. She said the victim told her she had an active restraining order against Tooker, who snuck into her property while she was gardening.

The neighbors had raced to the woman’s defense not knowing the danger that was on the other side of the fence.

 “She mentioned the fellow had a gun,” said Gaito.