Police: Man arrested after downtown St. Augustine stabbing

Victim hospitalized; Richard Palmer charged with aggravated battery

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Richard Palmer
St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Richard Palmer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man was arrested after a stabbing early Sunday morning in downtown St. Augustine, police said. 

Richard Palmer, 30, is charged with aggravated battery. 

Officers responded about 1:40 a.m. Sunday to a stabbing in the area of Scarlett O'Hara's on Hypolita Street, where they found a man who had multiple puncture wounds from his lower back to his armpit at the intersection of Spanish Street. The victim was taken to Flagler Hospital and then to Orange Park Medical Center, where he was reportedly listed in stable condition. 

Police said they located the suspect, identified as Palmer, hiding in the alley behind Barley Republic along Spanish Street.

After Palmer was placed into a patrol vehicle, according to the St. Augustine Police Department, officers found a knife in his front pocket and 13 counterfeit $100 bills in his wallet. 

Palmer was arrested and taken to the St. Johns County jail, where he remained as of Monday afternoon, according to online jail records. 

According to the Police Department, it's unclear what led to the incident and the investigation is ongoing.

Upcoming town hall meeting on nightlife plan

The weekend stabbing happened ahead of a town hall meeting about a Quality of Nightlife Strategic Plan that was canceled due to Hurricane Dorian and rescheduled for next week.

At a St. Augustine City Commission meeting last month, City Manager John Regan presented the five-point plan to address concerns raised by the changing character of the historic city's downtown nightlife environment. According to the city, the program aims to address concerns driven by the growing nighttime business model in the downtown area that tends to cater mostly to patrons of bars and mostly in the last hours of service from midnight to 2 a.m. 

The five primary elements of Regan's proposal are:

  • Increased police presence in the downtown at night.
  • Increased attention to cleanliness in heavily traveled pedestrian areas.
  • Improvements in urban design, such as street lighting and sidewalks.
  • Organized pickup areas for ride-share providers.
  • An update to the city’s alcohol ordinance.
  • The city said it wants to gather public input and answer questions about the plan at the town hall meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in The Alcazar Room of City Hall on King Street. St. Augustine Police Chief Barry Fox and St. Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline will be participating in the discussion.

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