As Madison Schemitz continues to rehab from a paralyzing stabbing and returned to school, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office released 10 body and dash camera videos from responding officers to the June 3 attack outside Mr. Chubby’s Wings in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Most are about an hour long and too large to easily include on Jacksonville.com. But they provide a detailed look at rescue personnel and sheriff’s officers performing what they are trained for and working together in a major trauma scenario.
To recap what happened to set up the scene, Spencer Ross Pearson is accused of carrying out a calculated and brutal attack on former girlfriend Madison Schemitz after either following her or finding out where she would be that afternoon. He had been harassing and stalking her, so when she and her mother spotted him at the restaurant, they got up to leave.
Security video shows him rush her in the parking lot, stabbing her multiple times as well as her mother who tries to stop him and a patron who tackles him. He then begins to slice his own throat until being disarmed by another patron, according to witnesses.
On Sept. 19 Madison's GoFundMe page posted this update about the 17-year-old being cleared to return to classes at Ponte Vedra High School:
"Madison returned to school! She is facing her Senior year head-on while continuing re-hab full time. Madison is very focused on sharing her story and promoting the One Love Foundation at school and in our community. One Love's mission is to educate young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships and empower them to avoid abuse. Thanks to everyone for your amazing support! #madisonstrong"
Pearson, 19, was released from the hospital on June 23 and had a pretrial hearing Thursday on multiple charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery.
Following are excerpts and descriptions from the video footage at the grisly scene that involved dozens of first responders and witnesses.
Much of the attention is on Pearson, who is sprawled out on his back barely moving on the grass just outside the parking lot and close to the road. Images of Madison, her mother Jacki Roge and patron rescuer Kennedy Armstrong are blurred for victims’ privacy laws.
“What’s wrong with you!” a woman is heard yelling, likely Madison’s mother. And she is told to stay away.
“This is the crazy [expletive] boyfriend. Just make sure she’s OK,” she says, likely meaning her daughter.
Paramedic: “I need to stay here with him, but I will not ignore you, I promise.”
She also later tells a detective she had just filed a report against Pearson.
As they continue to assess their injuries and who is who, here’s more of what’s said.
“Suspect’s down. He slit his throat.”
“This guy’s the bad guy.”
“The knife is right there.”
“She’s stabbed in the back and chest.”
“One’s in the hand.”
“Go get me a chest tube.”
“This guy needs a tourniquet.”
Then a lot of focus is on getting Life Flight there, the helicopter to airlift Madison, who is evaluated as having some paralysis from the waist down, and probably Roge to Memorial Hospital. They advise about the power lines and where to block roads so the helicopter can land.
A great deal of the videos also show several of the officers interviewing witnesses, at one point tallying the total at 42.
Perhaps the most prominent one was Armstrong, whom several others repeatedly called a hero.
An officer asks him what happened as he’s being treated.
“I just backed my truck in … Got off of work and I see the [expletive] guy on top of that girl right there,” he explains. “I saw that and I heard yelling, and I ran over and I knocked him the [expletive] off. And I guess when I knocked him off, he sliced me.”
'No respect for life': Aiden Fucci gets only appropriate sentence for Tristyn Bailey slaying
“Man, you are a hero,” another person chimes in again.
And the officer agrees: “You’re my hero, brother.”
He had “his hand completely gushing blood out of it,” one of the witnesses said of the do-gooder.
“Victim 3, the kid whose parents own Barbara Jean’s [on the Water restaurant], lost a lot of blood,” a paramedic later confirms.
A man in shorts with no shirt had earlier told first responders he used his shirt as a tourniquet presumably for Armstrong or maybe Roge.
Another woman tells an officer, “My husband’s the one who got it away from him,” referring to the knife Pearson was cutting his throat with after Armstrong got him separated from Madison. “Tried to kill himself.”
One of the videos ends with investigators going over a timeline of what transpired as one uses a dry-erase marker to write it down on the hood of a patrol vehicle.
Madison offered this statement following the release of the bodycam footage:
“Every day is still a fight," she said. "I am working incredibly hard every day and making great progress. I continue to ask for privacy when it comes to my recovery, but I greatly appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. I encourage everyone to educate themselves on Spinal Cord Injuries and Disabilities, along with Domestic Violence and Abuse. Linking arms with the One Love Foundation has been amazing so far, and I hope to continue to educate and advocate for myself and these causes as I continue this journey. This is just the beginning. #MadisonStrong”
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Bodycam videos show Ponte Vedra Beach stabbing scene at Mr. Chubby's