A Pacifica woman who survived a brutal pre-Christmas attack by her estranged husband, against whom she had a restraining order, is now speaking out about the boyfriend who came to her rescue and gave his life protecting her.

Nina Mongiovi, 34, survived a brutal stabbing on December 21. It was a tragic and frightening incident of domestic violence in which her ex, 46-year-old Jason Gillenwater, broke into her Pacifica house while she was getting her daughters ready for school, stabbed her 15 times, and then engaged in a hand-to-hand battle with her boyfriend, 30-year-old Ezra Pouech.

Mongiovi further described the events of that day to KTVU this week. We knew from earlier reporting, as that by Bay Area News Group, that Mongiovi had gotten a restraining order against Gillenwater a week before the attack, after he had previously arrived at the home on December 14. Police were called, and Gillenwater was booked on suspicion of domestic violence, but no charges were filed.

With the restraining order came a gun violence emergency protective order, and police seized all guns from Gillenwater's home.

On December 21, he arrived back at Mongiovi's home on Naomi Avenue in the Vallemar neighborhood of Pacifica. Mongiovi tells KTVU that Pouech had been staying with her, because they imagined that Gillenwater would likely return despite the restraining order — and she says he already had, just the previous day.

"The day before he had broken in to try to confront me and Ezra was there," Mongiovi tells KTVU.

Gillenwater, a veteran firefighter in Colma, allegedly broke into a second-floor window from the roof when he came back the second day, Mongiovi said, bringing with him a large knife.

"I screamed for Ezra and ran down my stairs and into my driveway thinking if I was outside and made enough noise that he wouldn't attack me," she tells KTVU. "But I was wrong and he held the knife to my neck and Ezra ran outside with the baseball bat."

Gillenwater was dressed in military fatigues, and had apparently come with the intention of inflicting violence. He succeeded in stabbing his wife 15 times, and then engaged in combat with Pouech.

"Unfortunately, at one point, Jason and Ezra were in a face-off, and Jason did one jab that proved to be fatal," Mongiovi tells KTVU.

Mongiovi is grateful for Pouech's intervention, saying it likely saved her life. She was able to get into the house and call 911, and Gillenwater ended up fleeing the scene after fatally stabbing Pouech, driving north, purchasing a gun (illegally) in Colusa County, and taking his own life later that day during a traffic stop in Ukiah.

"What I am angry about is his last moments on this earth were riddled with fear, and that's upsetting," Mongiovi says of Pouech.

Pouech's family in Vermont published this obituary, not mentioning Mongiovi by name but saying, "We take solace in knowing that Ezra acted to protect those he cherished, showing himself to be the caring, kind person we loved."

Pouech was a musician and avid snowboarder and skater who called San Francisco home. He was employed in the cannabis industry. It's not clear how long he and Mongiovi had been together.

"Ezra, I believe, he came into my life to free me because I'm free now, because Jason ended up taking his own life and I don't ever have to worry about him ever hurting me again," Mongiovi says to KTVU.

She says she is speaking out now to encourage other women to escape abusive and violent relationships, saying she stayed in hers far too long.

"Leave, even if you have to go to a shelter," Mongiovi says. "Even if you don't have money, there are resources and get out because I'm an average person. I go to work. I come home. I like gardening. I'm a simple person and if that happened to me, it can happen to other people."

Previously: Suspect In Pacifica Homicide, a Colma Firefighter, Found Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound In Ukiah

Top image: Photo of Ezra Pouech courtesy of Pouech family, via SevenDaysVT