The West Virginia woman who killed her attacker inside her home after grabbing his gun recalled the harrowing struggle for life in an interview with CBS News.
Authorities say the man — identified by authorities as 45-year-old Neal Falls of Springfield, Oregon — may be a serial killer linked to the deaths of at least 10 women in three states, CBS News reported.
The woman, identified only as Heather, told CBS News that she let Falls — who was responding to a online ad for an escort — into her home on July 18. But after she opened the door, Falls, who was armed with a gun, started to choke her.
During the ensuing struggle, Heather said she managed to grab a rake to defend herself. As Falls tried to take the rake from her, he set down his gun.
"I just grabbed it and shot behind me," she told CBS News.
The shot killed Falls and Heather ran to a neighbor, who called 911. Heather can be heard on dispatch audio crying, adding that her attacker told her to "live or die."
When police arrived, they found knives, hatchets, a shovel, bleach, and a bulletproof vest in Falls' SUV, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
"What comes to mind when you look at those items is a serial killer kit," Charleston police detective Lt. Steve Cooper told WTVR.
Police are now working with the FBI to try to link Falls' DNA to other crimes in other states. Falls previously spent time in Ohio, Nevada, and Illinois around the times when at least 10 women who had worked in prostitution went missing, authorities said.
Watch Heather's CBS interview here:
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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