DoorDash driver recounts attack with blowtorch; attacker sentenced to 80 months in prison

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 9:59 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A local DoorDash driver said it’s a miracle he’s alive after a scary confrontation during a late-night delivery in southeast Portland.

The attacker will now spend years in prison for attempted robbery. And the weapon of choice might surprise you.

The victim tells FOX 12 he feels protected by a higher power after being attacked by a man with a blowtorch during an attempted carjacking at a 7-11 in southeast Portland.

“According to the attorney and the DA’s office and me watching the video, I shouldn’t be here,” Joseph Baniago, who was attacked by a blowtorch, said. “You can see it started to melt there. This is all I had on and that protected me.”

Joseph Baniago had been making DoorDash deliveries for a few months, when on Oct. 18th at around 2:30 a.m. he said he was picking up his last order of the night at a 7-11 in southeast Portland.

“I was just starting to put stuff in and the next thing you know I was engulfed in flames,” Baniago said. “The first thing I felt was a massive amount of heat and I could see the flames.”

That’s when he said someone holding a blowtorch demanded his car keys, but he stood his ground.

“I told him no,” Baniago said. “I think he was very shocked, and nothing happened to me other than a few hairs on my head”

Baniago said it’s a miracle he survived – virtually unscathed.

“I should be severely burned. Maybe not even here,” Baniago said. “The devil tried to take me, and God said no.”

According to court documents, shortly after, Portland Police arrested 30-year-old Michael Walton nearby. Walton pleaded guilty to the charges against him before the Multnomah County District Attorney announced an 80-month prison sentence.

Baniago said he feels relieved.

“The fact that justice was served. Do I feel like he should’ve gotten a longer sentence for what he did, I mean absolutely,” Baniago said.

He said he still can’t believe he’s here to tell his story and wants to share this message.

“In the video from 7-11′s cameras, a stream of fuel was shot out before he ignited it. So, he had every intention to put me away,” Baniago said. “Be more aware of your surroundings. It’s crazy out there.”

He said his puppy was also in his car at the time. He also said he’s still pretty shaken up and hasn’t driven for DoorDash since.

Baniago’s friend set up a GoFundMe page to accept donations and help him out.