WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — The Northgate Plaza Publix in Winter Haven was reopened Friday but shoppers were still shocked at what occurred there the day before.
“I couldn’t believe it. I mean, it’s real scary to go anywhere anymore,” said Edith Hayward, who works in Winter Haven.
“Literally just walked out of that Publix and didn’t know that happened last night. It really hurts my heart,” said Matthew Timmons.
Timmons is from this community and works with youth as a football coach at Winter Haven High School. He calls it “disheartening” to see young men involved in this act of violence.
“Seeing something like this happen, knowing I have nephews the same age and younger nephews growing up, it really hurts. Especially being from this community, these kids need to understand we need to come together more,” he said.
Winter Haven Police detectives are looking for the public’s help in identifying the group of young men who followed another young man into the Winter Haven Publix at 1:30 Thursday afternoon.
Police say the group approached the young man near the customer service desk and then a fight broke out in an aisle.
During the fight, the young man they followed into the store, according to police, and stabbed one of them in the group.
“The fight kind of breaks up. That’s when we find out from the person that stayed on scene, he had a knife. He used the knife he said to defend himself and cut the subject,” said Chief David Brannan.
The man accused of stabbing another man has not been arrested.
The individual who was stabbed died at a nearby hospital.
“This was a targeted event. It wasn’t a random just come into a Publix and start a fight type thing,” said Chief Brannan.
Police released images of the other members of the group in hopes of identifying them.
Anyone with information on the identities of subjects seen in the photos is asked to contact Detective Maldonado at 863-837-0946 or 863-401-2256.