COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Several people are injured and the suspect is dead after a machete attack at a restaurant in northeast Columbus on Thursday.
Four people were taken to the hospital with injuries, including one person who was taken to Grant Medical Center in life-threatening condition. The person had surgery and has been downgraded to stable condition, Columbus Police said.
This happened at the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli, which is in a shopping center on North Hamilton Road.
Overnight, FBI agents were seen at a northeast Columbus apartment removing bins of evidence from one of the units.
The FBI confirmed it is assisting Columbus Police, according to spokesperson Todd Lindgren. The FBI would not, however, confirm the connection of the apartment scene to the attack.
Sgt. Rich Weiner said the suspect was in the restaurant, speaking with an employee, less than an hour before the attack. He said police are not releasing the suspect’s name or age at this time.
Weiner said there seemed to be “no rhyme or reason” to the attack. Weiner said the suspect walked into Nazareth around 6 p.m. Thursday and “immediately” began swinging a machete at customers and employees. Weiner said two people got up and ran outside to call 911, and said one person got into a physical contact with the attacker.
Weiner said patrons and employees began throwing chairs at the suspect. The suspect then walked out and got into a white car. Weiner said victims and employees gave a good description of the vehicle and even took some video to help officers find the suspect.
A special duty officer at Easton Town Center saw the suspect’s vehicle and told other police the suspect’s location. The CPD helicopter and several patrol cars began pursuing the suspect’s car. Weiner said that after a chase, police were able to maneuver the suspect off the road, and surrounded his vehicle on Stelzer Road.
Weiner said the suspect attempted to get out of the passenger side of the vehicle, and an officer Tased him with no effect. Weiner said the suspect then got out of the vehicle with a machete and a knife in his hand and lunged across the hood of the car at police. An officer fired two shots at the suspect.
At least one machete has also been recovered.
Micki Zakas works at Nazareth, and arrived at scene after it happened
“I had gotten a text about the guy with the machete, at McCutcheon and Morse Crossing which is right where I live,” she said. “Then, I came here and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.”
Zakas said people love the restaurant and its owner.
“Everybody leaves here with a smile,” she said. “It’s a real happy place, he [the owner] has been in business for 26 years, so he’s got a great reputation around here. The restaurant’s got a great reputation.
“It scared the crap out of me, to begin with. Then, when I found out where it’s at, it’s really kind of freaking me out.”