The broad daylight attempted murder in Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville was interrupted only after a courageous Good Samaritan spotted the frenzied attack and intervened, according to police.
Spencer Pearson is accused of repeatedly stabbing 17-year-old Madison Schemitz, a high school softball star, and her mother, Jacki Rogé, before attempting to take his own life at a restaurant near Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday (June 3) at around 4:30pm.
Madison, who was a rising senior at Ponte Vedra High School, was eating at a restaurant Saturday with her mother, and friend Casey Estep when they spotted Spencer Pearson, a recent graduate of the school and a former football player.
Estep told reporters that Schemitz had recently broken up with the 18-year-old and that he had been threatening her with violence.
Pearson’s pledges to use violence grew so unnerving that Schemitz’s mother was in the process of obtaining a restraining order against him for her daughter’s safety.
‘They were like, “Oh, we’ve got to go.’” Estep told First Coast News of their startled reaction to Pearson’s sudden appearance.
They noticed Pearson standing nearby, causing immediate fear among the trio.
Fearing for their safety, the party quickly paid for their food and attempted to walk to their vehicle, but Pearson intercepted them and began stabbing both Schemitz and her mother.
Bystander Kennedy Armstrong, 23, was sitting in a parked car nearby when he suddenly heard piercing screams.
He turned towards the sound and saw Pearson repeatedly stabbing Schemitz while holding her on the ground.
The mother tried to intervene but she was stabbed also.
Armstrong immediately darted towards Pearson and knocked him off the victim who was already screaming and bloodied by then.
‘You see two girls in trouble getting attacked by a guy, I would hope most people would do the same,’ Armstrong told First Coast News.
‘Kudos to the mom. I think she’s the real reason that girl is still alive.’
Pearson then attacked Armstrong, stabbing him in the arm and severing several tendons.
The assault concluded when Pearson cut his own throat in an attempt to kill himself.
All four participants were rushed to a local hospital, with Schemitz suffering deep cuts to her spine and entering temporary paralysis.
She has already undergone several surgeries and remains in critical condition.
Two GoFundMe accounts have already raised more than $80,000 to help Schemetz and her family offset incoming medical costs and other expenses.
‘She is a sister to five siblings and she will have a long road to recovery as she is in critical condition at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville,’ one of the accounts said of Schemitz.
Pearson also remains in critical condition after suffering the severe self-inflicted cut to the neck.
Authorities from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office are prepared to charge Pearson with attempted murder if he survives his self-inflicted injuries.