A mother and her daughter were stabbed early Wednesday morning following an altercation with a stranger in Miami Beach, according to a relative and police.
According to Miami Beach Police, 28-year-old Jennifer Gaal was making a purchase inside the Christal Food Store, located at 7451 Collins Avenue around midnight while her mother, 45-year-old Blanca Nieves, waited outside. As she waited, police say Nieves got into a verbal altercation with 63-year-old Joseph Kennett as he walked past the store. It is not known what led to their altercation.
As Kennett entered the store, Gaal also got into an altercation with him, accusing him of disrespecting her mother. Police said Kennett punched Gaal to the ground, and that he continued to punch her as both mother and daughter tried to fight him off.
That is when police said Kennett produced a knife or similar edged weapon, and stabbed both women multiple times.
Kennett fled the premises but was quickly located and arrested.
Mariano Flores, a witness who was in the area, said he saw Gaal on the ground bleeding and offered assistance until police arrived, using his shirt to apply pressure to her wounds.
"She had two really big gashes that were bleeding a lot," Flores said. "I was just somebody that was there at the right place at the right time."
Flores noted that while he does not have any formal training, he did not think twice to rush to Gaal's aid.
"What if it was your mother? Your daughter? It could have been me, it could have been anybody else," Flores said, urging everyone to pray for the recovery of the victims.
Both Gaal and Nieves were taken to Ryder Trauma Center. A man who identified himself as the victims' brother and son said Nieves had gone into surgery and is in stable condition. Police said Gaal was also taken into surgery and is listed in critical condition.
He said his mother and sister did not know their attacker.
Police said Gaal suffered three stab sounds to her torso, while Nieves suffered a stab sound to the chest.
According to police, Kennett attempted to plead the "Stand Your Ground" defense, but his statements were reportedly inconsistent with what was observed on the store's video surveillance.
He is facing two charges of attempted murder and was being held without bond. It is not known whether Kennett has hired an attorney.