St. Johns County

Surveillance video shows heroism of man who saved teen, her mom in Ponte Vedra Beach stabbing

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday released surveillance video in a stabbing that happened in June outside of a Ponte Vedra Beach restaurant.

Authorities said Madison Schemitz, 17, and her mother were attacked by Madison’s ex-boyfriend Spencer Pearson outside of Mr. Chubby’s Wings on Saturday, June 3. Pearson cut his own throat during the incident.

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The heroes who came to their rescue can be seen bolting into action. Kennedy Armstrong is the man who fearlessly ran in to save Madison from another blow.

Armstrong’s friend, James Stepp was also seen running towards Madison to help. He says the events that led up to the attack were absolutely chilling.

“It’s definitely creepy, just the way he was walking around and stalking her and you know having eyes on her the whole time,” Stepp said. " But her reaction when he noticed he was there was just kind of terrifying.”

As soon as the suspect, Pearson walked in, he walks near Madison and lets her know he is there. Madison appears shocked and scared.

Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson has decades of law enforcement experience. He says this video could serve as a piece of evidence in court. He says this part of the video demonstrates premeditation.

“And clearly here, it is obvious that he is watching them, they’re aware of his presence,” Carson said. “And he follows them out once they’re outside in what he would consider a vulnerable position.”

When Madison and her mom leave the restaurant, you see Pearson eyeing the window, checking on them. Once he sees them in the parking lot, he bolts and then attacks, stabbing them repeatedly. The actual attack is obstructed from view by parked cars.

Carson says Pearson’s swiftness and approach add another clue.

“I don’t know why he ran out like he did, other than to attack them,” Carson said.

Fortunately, bystanders Armstrong and Stepp were nearby. As soon as they pulled into the parking lot, they reacted and sprinted. Five seconds was all they needed to cross the parking lot and tackle Pearson. Their heroic actions ultimately saved Madison and her mom. Five minutes later, the ambulance pulls into the parking lot.

“Anytime you see a man on top of a woman kind of you know, assaulting her, you just gotta do the right thing,” Stepp said.

Carson says he believes Spencer Pearson was mentally unstable when he slit his throat and tried to take his own life.

The video shows the last steps Madison took because unfortunately, the stabbing left Madison paralyzed from the chest down.

The video shows Pearson attacking Madison and her mom in the upper right corner of the frame, with the actual attack obstructed from view by parked cars.

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Just moments later, Armstrong and his friend are seen sprinting toward them. Armstrong didn’t hesitate and was across the parking lot within seconds to save them.

Five minutes later, the ambulance pulls into the parking lot.

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The video shows the last steps Madison took because unfortunately, the stabbing left Madison paralyzed from the chest down.

Action News Jax’s Annette Gutierrez will continue going through this video and will have the latest details on CBS47 and FOX30 Action News Jax at 6.

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