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Port St. Lucie woman witnesses 2 random attacks in Jensen Beach

Martin County sheriff describes incident as 'isolated, hateful and despicable'
Posted at 12:14 AM, Jan 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-09 17:18:32-05

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — A Fort Pierce woman is facing aggravated battery charges after authorities said she randomly attacked two people in Jensen Beach, seemingly unprovoked.

It was an incident that a Port St. Lucie woman witnessed.

The witness, wanting only to be known by her first name Pam, was in the parking lot of the Best Buy at the time and saw the whole thing Dec. 29.

Subsequently, Calene Gabriel, 33, was charged with aggravated battery and aggravated battery on an elderly woman.

"The lady that got hit was screaming bloody murder. So, I got out of the car, because that's when I realized, holy, wow, something's not right!" Pam said.

A Port St. Lucie woman named Pam discusses the shock she felt after witnessing the attack.
A Port St. Lucie woman named Pam discusses the shock she felt after witnessing the attack.

She said the victim immediately went down on the ground when she was hit.

"The poor woman, when I got there, she was just all bloody, she was bleeding and holding her head," Pam said.

Surveillance footage from that night provided by the Stuart Police Department shows a white SUV driving through the Best Buy parking lot. It stops in the middle of the parking lot near a parked car. The footage then showed a woman getting out of the SUV and attacking a woman at random.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said about an hour later the SUV went across the street to the parking lot of Total Wine and More and attacked an elderly woman with what looked like a heavy object in a bag.

According to the arrest affidavit, just before the second attack, the victim was going inside Total Wine and More when the SUV nearly hit her.

Documents said when she came back out, the SUV was waiting for her.

The victim told deputies the driver pulled up beside her and asked her if she had a problem, to which the victim responded she did not.

That's when the driver, later identified by police as Gabriel, started beating her.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says the motive for the attacks is unclear.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says the motive for the attacks is unclear.

Snyder said deputies were able to track Gabriel down using the leads they gathered that night and arrested her Wednesday.

"She gave a partial confession," Snyder said.

Snyder said she never gave a motive for attacking the two victims, both of whom have no connection to each other, nor to Gabriel.

"She did use the word angry," Snyder said. "She was enraged at something, some situation in life, but why she took it out on these two innocent victims is completely inexplicable. It just seems like it was an isolated, hateful and despicable attack on an innocent victim."

Pam said she is thankful Gabriel is facing charges.

"I was thrilled," the Port St Lucie woman said.

She also said she is thankful she was there to help.

"It makes me feel good that I was there, like I was meant to help this lady," Pam said.

Yet while she's thankful, she said she's still shaken by what happened.

"I just don't understand why. I don't understand why somebody would do that," said Pam.

Snyder also said his office investigated the possibility of the incident being a hate crime but found no evidence to support that.

"She never did make any statement during the assault or to us that tied it into a hate crime. But even though this wasn't a hate crime by statute, this was a hateful crime," Snyder said.

Gabriel posted her $25,000 bond and was released though Snyder said he was hoping her bond would be set higher.