Home / National News / Restaurant Machete Attack Survivor Describes 'Complete Chaos'

 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — When a machete-wielding man launched an attack at an Ohio restaurant, injuring four, “complete chaos broke out,” one survivor told ABC News Friday.

Tracy – who did not want to use her last name – had just paid for her meal at the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli when she heard screaming, she said.

“I turned around. And there was a gentleman behind me, in front of the first booth, with two machetes in the air. One in each hand,” she said. “And basically going down the entire row of booths in the restaurant and just hitting everybody with the machetes.”

The man’s attack was reported around 6 p.m. Thursday, the Columbus Police Department said Friday.

“Complete chaos broke out,” Tracy said. “Everybody was running away from him trying to get out of the restaurant.”

“My legs completely gave out on me … I thought to myself, that at any moment I’m gonna get a knife in my back,” she said.

She said some children and elderly people were in the restaurant.

“It was so sudden,” Tracy said. “I think it caught a lot of people off guard because they were eating.”

She continued: “The first thing that went through my head was, I see this on TV all the time, but you never really think it’s gonna happen to you.”

“There was a lot of blood,” she added, saying that she was thankful everyone survived.

Tracy described the suspect as “quiet” and “expressionless.”

“I didn’t hear him say a word,” she said.

“He didn’t even really try to escape quickly,” she said. “He just kind of hung out in the parking lot for a while. And was still taunting some of the customers and waiving his knives in the air.”

She said he drove off calmly.

The suspect, identified as Mohamed Barry, 30, according to Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz, eventually fled the scene in a car with police in pursuit, according to a police press release.

After some time, the suspect stopped and exited the car, armed with a machete in one hand and a knife in the other, police said in the release. Officers deployed a taser to prevent him from fleeing again, but it wasn’t effective. As the suspect lunged at police, an officer shot him multiple times, according to the release. Officer John Johnson, a 25-year veteran, fired the shots, police said.

Barry died at the scene, police said.

Four victims – three men and one woman – were hospitalized after the attack, police said.

William Foley, 54, was in critical but stable condition Friday, police said, while Gerald Russell, 43, and Debbie Russell, 43, were in stable condition. The last victim, Neil McMeekin, 43, has been treated and released, police said Friday.

No officers were injured, police said.

The incident is being investigated by the Critical Incident Response Team, police said, and the final investigative package will be forwarded to the Columbus Division of Police Firearms/Police-Involved Death Review Board and the Chain-Of-Command for review.

The FBI is investigating the suspect’s motive, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at a news conference Friday afternoon, adding that the motive is not yet clear. Law enforcement sources told ABC News Friday that Barry was known to the FBI, but was not under full scale investigation.

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