VERO BEACH, Fla. (MCT) -- The window of the dining area at McDonald's was all that separated an Army veteran from the brutal attack Monday that killed Connecticut's Kevin Adorno.
"I saw Kevin trying to protect himself," Anthony Caramanis, 34, of Vero Beach, said Thursday about the attack.
Caramanis got up from his chair when he saw Rene Cruz attacking Adorno outside the restaurant in the 1900 block of U.S. 1. He ran to the door, as did Adorno, as Cruz fled across the street, police said. The wounded man collapsed in front of Caramanis inside the restaurant near the restrooms.
Caramanis called 911 and begged for an ambulance and he applied pressure to Adorno's chest -- something he learned as part of his Army training.
"Someone got stabbed in the heart," Caramanis said to dispatchers during his call to 911, according to the recordings released Thursday by police. "He's going into cardiac arrest. Please hurry."
"Kevin had a 10-inch gash in his chest," Caramanis recalled Thursday, still distraught over the Labor Day ordeal.
"We were all upset," said Caramanis of the McDonald's patrons that night. The stabbing happened about 9:30 p.m. "It's really tragic."
Adorno's heart was still beating when paramedics arrived, Caramanis said. But he was pronounced dead at Indian River Medical Center.
Caramanis said he stayed home from his job this week as he attempts to recover from witnessing the attack.
Adorno, 28, had biked from Maryland to Florida in previous weeks.
Cruz, who is homeless, told police he was afraid two men at McDonald's were using electronic devices to order someone to attack him. One of the men, Adorno, of Unionville, Connecticut, was talking on his cellphone with his girlfriend outside the restaurant.
The other was Caramanis, who had a window seat on the north side of McDonald's and was using a laptop computer. Caramanis said he noticed Cruz sitting at the benches in the parking lot, staring at him through the window before the attack.
After paramedics took Adorno to the hospital, a grief counselor from the Indian River County Sheriff's Office met with Caramanis and other witnesses.
Adorno's girlfriend, Elyse Fuggetta, also of Unionville, still was on the phone with Adorno when Cruz attacked, police said. She could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Cruz, a 59-year-old homeless Cuban native who spent several years in the Miami area, had contacted police Sunday night about his fear someone was trying to harm him, Police Chief David Currey said. There's no written report about that incident because no crime occurred, and an officer is not required to produce a report in that situation.
However, Currey said the officer who responded to Cruz will write a report of their interaction.
Caramanis, who frequents the McDonald's to use its free wireless connection for his laptop, said he had noticed Cruz in recent weeks sitting in the bench area in the parking lot. Other homeless people often sit at the bench, but Caramanis said he didn't have any problems with Cruz or the others previously.
Currey said some of the homeless loiter in a wooded area south of McDonald's. He said his officers have been asking those people to leave the area because they're on private property.
A Jan. 31 census by the Treasure Coast Homeless Service Council showed 1,048 homeless people in Indian River.
Agencies in the county that work with the homeless said they weren't familiar with Cruz.
Cruz remained at the Indian River County Jail without bail Thursday.
(c) 2014 the Treasure Coast Newspapers. Distributed by MCT Information Services