Police have shot and killed a suspect after he started wielding a machete and randomly attacking people trying to eat at the Nazareth Restaurant & Deli on North Hamilton Road in Ohio, just after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Two people who were inside the restaurant at the time described the scene to reporter Rob Wells as “carnage” saying it seemed like a “systematic attack.”
10 TV reports: Police have shot and killed a suspect after he attacked multiple people at a restaurant in northeast Columbus with a machete.
The incident happened at the Nazareth Restaurant & Deli on North Hamilton Road just after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Police said the man walked into the restaurant, had a conversation with an employee and then left. He returned about a half hour later. That’s when police said he approached a man and a woman who were sitting just inside the door at a booth and started the attack.
After the attacks, the suspect fled in his car southwest toward the Easton area. Officers attempted a PIT maneuver during the escape, but were unsuccessful. A short time later, a successful attempt was made, and the suspect slammed into a curb near Montclair Drive.
As officers converged on the suspect, he exited the vehicle with a knife in one hand and a machete in the other, according to police. After unsuccessfully firing a taser at the man, he lunged across the hood at the officers and was shot dead.
No officers were hurt during the shooting.
Meantime, four victims were taken to Grant Medical Center, including one in critical condition. All are expected to recover from their injuries.
Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner said “right now there’s nothing that leads us to believe that this is anything but a random attack.”
CBS News has identified the suspect as Mohammad Barry, however neither 10TV nor Columbus Police have confirmed the suspect’s name. CBS News also reports Barry has a Somali background and may have traveled to Dubai in 2012.
Law enforcement tells them the incident appears to be the type of “lone wolf terrorist attacks they’re trying to stop.”
The FBI is assisting in the investigation.
“He came to each table and just started hitting them.”
Witnesses said that the suspect had walked into the Nazareth Restaurant and asked for the owner. After being told the owner wasn’t there, he left the restaurant.
Diners said the man calmly walked back in 30 minutes later before he started his attack with a machete.
The husband of one of the waitresses working at Nazareth Thursday night said he asked her if the man was saying anything, to which she told him he was quiet and just started hacking people.
“He looked straight at me, but he went over to the booths and just started going down the booths. It all seemed to happen in slow motion,” the waitress said.
Karen Bass who was in the restaurant said she had only been inside about half an hour before the man started attacking. “He came to each table and just started hitting them,” she said. “There were tables and chairs overturned there was a man on the floor bleeding there was blood on the floor.”
Bass said it was like a scene from a horror film down to her stumbling escape.
“I fell like five times. My legs felt like jelly. I just thought he was going to come behind me and slash me up.”
Witnesses say about 20 people, including two babies, were inside at the time of the attack.
“There was no rhyme or reason as to who he was going after,” said Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner. “Some of the patrons there started throwing chairs at him just trying to get him out of there.”
Background of Nazareth Restaurant
Nazareth Restaurant has been in business for two decades. The restaurant has a community reputation for its multiculturalism.
It is too early to say whether there was any political motive to this attack, but it struck a restaurant known for its embrace of both Israeli, Jewish and Arab Muslim culture.
Inside the restaurant, guests are greeted by two things near the entrance: A small Israeli flag and a Arabic phrase of greeting: it read “Ahlan Wa Shalan” which roughly translates to “You are my family, take it easy.”
The restaurant was a regular participant at international festivals.