Machete Attack: Columbus, Ohio Man Slashes Patrons At Nazareth Restaurant, Police Say Attack Was 'Random'

John Houck

A brazen machete attack at a Columbus, Ohio, restaurant injured four random customers Thursday night. According to local officials, the alleged attacker was shot and killed after a short police pursuit.

Columbus Police Sergeant Rich Weiner said the attack occurred around 6 p.m. at the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli. An unidentified man walked in and started "swinging a machete" at people in the restaurant, seemingly without any specific target.

Weiner said two people ran outside to call 911 while other customers hurled chairs at the suspect. Reportedly, a restaurant employee pulled an unidentified object out from behind the register and was able to stop the assault.

The attacker then ran out, got in a white car, and sped off. Upon arrival at the scene, officers were provided with a description of the vehicle and a video revealing a partial license plate number.

Alert officers spotted the car about five miles away from the scene. Police were able to catch up to the suspect and force the vehicle to the curb.

The suspect then jumped out of the car and "lunged across the hood" with a machete in one hand and a knife in the other. The man was then fatally shot, according to Weiner.

Police tried to use a Taser stun gun on the man just before he exited the car, but it had little effect. The aggressor was shot several times and pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

During the machete attack inside the restaurant, four people were injured. One victim had to be rushed to the local hospital for emergency surgery and is expected to recover. The other three suffered wounds to the arms and legs and were treated at the scene.

According to police, the suspect first entered the restaurant earlier that evening, spoke to an employee, and left. Within 45 minutes, the man was back with a machete and, without saying a word, began his hacking attack.

"The second time, nothing was said," Weiner commented. "He just simply came in and started the attack."

Weiner did not elaborate on what the conversation was about between the suspect and the employee prior to the violence. The police declined to comment on how long the attack lasted.

Restaurant employee Micki Zakas said the restaurant is typically very busy on Thursday nights. She was in shock over the carnage and could not understand why anyone would attack a restaurant with such a high reputation among customers.

"Everything seemed fine," she said. "Nobody has mentioned issues or problems with anyone."

Zakas worked the night before without incident. Typically, everyone leaves the restaurant with a smile, and often there are parties on Thursday nights.

Some witnesses thought the attack may have been a targeted hit, but then turned more indiscriminate. Witness Karen Bass was there when the butchery took place.

"He came in and started beating up on another man, I thought it was a personal thing. Then he just started down the row hitting everybody, people were bleeding."

In a related Inquisitr report, a man wielding a machete attacked two people near the University of Arkansas campus in September of last year. Supposedly, the man was camping in the woods close by, and the two individuals told him to move the campsite to another area.

Instead of complying, the man pulled out the large knife and began swinging away. Not only were the two people hurt in the attack, but the suspect was injured and taken to the hospital as well.

NBC News reports that the police are still investigating the attacker's motive in the Ohio machete attack and have not released his identity. The FBI was called in to help explore the man's recent past and any possible motives.

No one at the Mediterranean-style restaurant knew the attacker.

"Right now there's nothing that leads us to believe that this is anything but just a random attack," Weiner said.

The Nazareth Restaurant machete attack in Columbus is still in the early stages of investigation, according to local law officials. Hany Baransi, the restaurant owner, has been interviewed by police but has not released any statements to the public.

[Photo by AP Photo/Kantele Franko]