Miami Beach

Mom and daughter stabbed buying beer at Miami Beach grocery

A woman and her daughter buying a late-night beer at a small North Beach grocery were repeatedly stabbed after getting into a fight with a 300-pound man who punched one of them in the face.

Miami Beach police said the two women, 27-year-old Jennifer Gaal and her mother 55-year-old Blanca Nieves — which translates to Snow White — were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Wednesaday morning. Police said Gaal was critical after undergoing surgery. And her mother was improving.

Joseph Floyd Kennett, 63, was arrested and charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery after police found him nearby trying to hop a trolley. He defended himself arguing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. But police found his claim inconsistent with what they observed on surveillance video they obtained from the store.

Police said the confrontation began just before midnight, when a woman entered the Christal Food Store at 7451 Collins Ave. to buy some beer. Her mother waited outside on the sidewalk. While waiting, according to police, the mother and Kennett began arguing.

When Kennett entered the store, Nieves’ 27-year-old daughter continued the argument with Kennett, saying he shouldn’t have disrespected her mother. That’s when, according to police, Kennett — who is six-feet tall and weighs almost 300 pounds — punched Gaal in the face, knocking her to the ground. He continued to punch her while she was on the ground, police said.

When Nieves took up the fight, police said Kennett pulled an object from his back right pocket and stabbed the daughter three times in the stomach. As Nieves approached, police said Kennett stabbed her in the chest.

A witness pointed out Kennett to police, who was stopped and arrested before getting away.

Mariano Flores told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that he was inside the store when the commotion began, but didn’t want to get involved and walked away. As he was crossing the street, he saw the women go down, and headed back to the Christal Food Store.

“I grabbed the lady that was on the floor, applied pressure on her right hand side,” Flores said. “She had two really big gashes that were bleeding a lot.”