Local mom details how she escaped AK-47 gunfire

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 22:12:41-05

SAN DIEGO - For the first time, a local nurse and single mother of two is sharing her frightening account of an up-close encounter with an AK-47.

"I'm thinking, consciously, that I'm going to die," said Sarah Pretanvil.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on an October 2015 night, Pretanvil parked in an Emerald Hills neighborhood, dropping off her college friend after dinner.

"Just as he has his hand on the door handle, I see in front of us, two shadows emerge. Two [men] run towards us," said Pretanvil.

She said she saw two young black men, with one of them aiming something at her.

"[I] just saw orange flashes; thoughts of my children flashed into my mind," said Pretanvil.

In the next few moments, 13 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle hit her car on the side and in the front. Her friend was struck in the leg.

At that point, she put the car in drive and started driving at the men, but the gunman shot out the engine.

"I'm thinking that if I sit here, I'll die. I am a sitting duck," said Pretanvil.

She then made a daring move.

"I [kind of] rolled out while they are still shooting, and I stand up and yell, 'I have babies! I have babies! Stop! Stop!'" she said.

Pretanvil turned around and saw the men running off.

"I was so thankful. Everyone says I had a lot of angels looking out for me," said Pretanvil.

Detectives called her survival -- without a scratch -- a miracle.

However, the mental trauma led to a PTSD diagnosis, forcing Pretanvil to go part-time, depleting her savings.

Last week, there was more heartache -- the heavy rainfall flooded several rooms in her home in Encanto.

Her emotions were overwhelmed and her financial outlook remains grim.

"I just want a safe and peaceful life again for my daughters and [me]," said Pretanvil.

The two attackers have not been caught and the motive remains a mystery.

Meanwhile, the flood damage could tally about $15,000.

A GoFundMe site has been set up to help Pretanvil with expenses.