'Am I gonna die?' | Kroger cashier recounts getting stabbed during robbery (2024)

Mariah Smith spent eight days in the hospital and had her spleen, kidney, and part of her pancreas removed after being stabbed in the stomach at Kroger on May 1.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Surrounded by her parents and a walker, 21-year-old Mariah Smith is trying to overcome physical pain and a difficult recovery.

Nearly two weeks ago, on May 1, Smith was stabbed while working her cashier job at Kroger on Camp Bowie West Blvd, near West Loop 820 in Fort Worth.

“I’m angry, but I’m not angry, 'cause I don’t know who this man is,” Smith said.

Smith told WFAA she was in the middle of ringing up a customer. Suddenly, a man approached her cash register from behind with a demand.

“He’s like, ‘Open the register or I'm gonna stab you,’” Smith said. “I paused for a minute and said, ‘Are you serious?’”

Smith told WFAA she felt confused because he spoke in a quiet voice. When she realized a robbery was taking place, she tried to remain calm.

Smith said she tried to open the locked register, but since she was in the middle of scanning items, the system didn’t allow it to open.

Panic set in.

“I turned around, and I guess he viewed me as a threat and jabbed me in the stomach,” Smith said.

She said she ran to the front of the store, bloodied, and yelled for help. Smith said several of her coworkers tried to stop her stab wound from bleeding and called 911.

“It was just so much pain,” Smith said. “I was asking my coworker, ‘Am I gonna die?’ I was just really afraid.”

Smith’s mother, Sheree Gross, said the family had just moved to North Texas from Chicago two years ago, seeking a better life. Gross and Smith's father, Steven Irvin, are still shaken by what happened to their daughter.

Irvin told WFAA he heard about the stabbing at a Kroger while at work, but never thought it was his daughter. Hours later, he received the worst phone call of his life.

"It was tragic. It’s unbelievable. I still don’t believe it," Irvin said. "We didn’t sleep. We didn’t eat. Sheree hasn't been to work. It’s just gonna be a tough road for us."

Smith, who lives with her parents in far north Fort Worth, applied for a job with Kroger. Smith said after she learned Kroger didn’t have any open positions near her neighborhood, she accepted the first available position at the Kroger location in Fort Worth, although it was a 30-minute drive from her home.

“She’s here trying to make an honest living, and for her to go through this,” Gross said.

Smith was rushed to the hospital, where she spent a total of eight days. According to her mother, she lost a lot of blood. Smith had her spleen, kidney, and part of her pancreas removed.

“This is my baby. She didn’t deserve this,” Gross said. “I just thank God she’s still here with us because the doctor told me if that knife would've gone three centimeters either way, it could’ve been a whole different story. I could’ve been planning a funeral.”

Mariah told WFAA she has staples on the stab wound, which stretches from the bottom of her heart to the bottom of her belly button.

She struggles to get around using a walker, and her recovery will take months.

Her family has launched a GoFundMe to cover Smith's expenses.

The suspect, 37-year-old Michael Pitts was arrested at Kroger moments after the stabbing. According to Fort Worth police, he’s undergoing an evaluation for his mental state.

“The fact that he targeted me… I don’t know if it was because of what I looked like or how I looked or was I an easy target?” Smith said.

Smith told WFAA police provided her with a copy of an apology letter Pitts wrote her. In it, he allegedly says she didn’t deserve it and said he hoped she would recover.

“The letter is very telling. He knew right from wrong,” Smith said. “It’s gonna take more than an apology for me to get over it.”

Smith and her family want justice.

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'Am I gonna die?' | Kroger cashier recounts getting stabbed during robbery (2024)
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