18-year-old accused of attacking 2 women with knife in attempted murder-suicide at Ponte Vedra restaurant

Scene photo (WJXT)

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said it has identified the man involved in an attempted murder-suicide stabbing at a Ponte Vedra Beach restaurant Saturday afternoon.

Deputies said the attack happened around 4:30 p.m. at Mr. Chubby’s Wings on Valley Circle.

The Sheriff’s Office posted an update Sunday on its Facebook page and identified the accused stabber as 18-year-old Spencer Pearson, who is currently in the hospital being treated for self-inflicted injuries. Investigators said if he survives, he will face multiple felonies, including attempted murder.

Deputies said the attempted murder-suicide attack was targeted against a primary victim, whom Pearson knew.

At the time of the incident, all parties involved were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The Sheriff’s Office did not provide an update on the current condition of the two women injured in the attack.

Two men -- Jimmy Stepp and Kennedy Armstrong -- intervened to try to help the women as they were being attacked, and one of them was injured.

Kennedy Armstrong (Courtesy of family)

Stepp said he and his friend Armstrong were coming to the restaurant to grab a bite to eat after work when they got out of Armstrong’s truck and heard someone screaming.

Armstrong said he saw a man on top of a woman on the sidewalk “pounding down on her chest,” and he couldn’t tell if the man had a knife or was just using his fist, but he took off running and knocked the man off the woman.

“Kennedy Armstrong, who is, I want to say, the hero in this whole thing. He tackled the gentleman off and caught a slash on his hand,” Stepp said.

Stepp told News4JAX that Armstrong was taken to the hospital with a “pretty bad slash to the hand” but is expected to be OK.

Armstrong said after he knocked the man off, he saw the attacker -- later identified by investigators as Pearson -- stab himself “a couple of times.”

Stepp said he personally came out of the incident “totally untouched,” but he is still mentally a little shaken by the experience.

“It’s something you never expect to see. [I’m] trying to process everything and pray for everyone involved,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. “It’s kind of a moment [where] you don’t think about what you’re doing. Something in you just tells you to do the right thing, and I felt that was the right thing.”

A GoFundMe was created to support Armstrong’s recovery and any medical expenses.

Mr. Chubby’s Wings posted a statement on its Facebook page.

“We would like to pray for the safe recovery of everyone involved in the incident outside our Ponte Vedra location. A huge Chubby thank you to Kennedy and Jimmy for your help stopping the situation. Truly Heroic. Thank you to all the first responders. Mr. Chubby’s Wings has the best customers in the world. Thank you.”

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.