Victim of South Beach attack describes frightening exchange with knife wielding suspect

Good Samaritans helped victim get away from armed man in South Beach

Thanks to a brave duo intervening, a woman was rescued after she was seen struggling with a man armed with a knife on Saturday night in South Beach.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Thanks to a brave duo intervening, a woman was rescued after she was seen struggling with a man armed with a knife on Saturday night in South Beach.

Sharoline Ramos said she was with her friend Mercedes Costagliola in a car when they saw a man attacking the victim along 16th Street.

“She was screaming, sweating, her skin was super red,” Ramos said.

Officers later identified the suspect as Joel Blackwood, 28, of Lauderdale Lakes. Broward County records show he has a pending violation of probation over a June 2021 battery case. His criminal record includes arrests for sexual battery and theft.

Officers arrested Joel Blackwood, 28, of Lauderdale Lakes, on Sunday in Miami Beach. (MDCR)

The victim in South Beach said she was walking home from work along 16th Street, between Lenox and Michigan avenues, when Blackwood touched the back of her thighs from behind and crouched near her waist, police said.

Blackwood showed her a knife and said, “Shh! Come with me!” before pulling her arms, according to the Miami Beach Police Department’s arrest report.

The victim fought back and when she felt the knife was pressed against her abdomen, she told him she was pregnant and pleaded for him to let her go, according to the report. The lie didn’t work, so she began to scream and pull toward the middle of the street.

Costagliola told police officers she stopped her car, flashed her lights, and honked her horn. The attacker ran away, so they welcomed the victim in the car and offered her help. According to the report, the victim asked Costagliola to drop her off at 14th Street and Collins Avenue.

Ramos, of Miami, said what they witnessed reminded her of when she was a victim of domestic violence and she was too terrified to report the violence to authorities.

“She didn’t want to call police; she was super scared,” Ramos said.

Costagliola and Ramos decided to call 911. Police dogs helped officers to find Blackwood early Sunday morning. Corrections officers were holding him without bond on Tuesday at the Metrowest Detention Center in Doral.

Blackwood is facing charges of kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, battery, and resisting an officer without violence.


About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.