COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police in central Ohio shot and killed a man who stormed into an Israeli-owned restaurant wielding a machete and randomly attacking people as they sat unsuspectingly at their dinner tables, authorities said.
Four people were injured in the brutal attack Thursday evening at Nazareth Restaurant and Deli, a Mediterranean restaurant in Columbus. The victims were taken to an area hospital and were expected to recover.
“There was no rhyme or reason as to who he was going after,” said Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner.
The owner of the restaurant, Hany Baransi, is an Israeli Arab originally from Haifa, according to his daughter Rachel Joy Baransi.
It was not clear if the attack was related to the owner’s ethnicity.
“Right now there’s nothing that leads us to believe that this is anything but a random attack,” said Weiner.
Police said the man walked into the restaurant, which was crowded with patrons for a weekly musical performance, 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.
Police said employees and patrons tried to get the man to stop.
“Some of the patrons there started throwing chairs at him just trying to get him out of there,” Weiner said.
The man eventually fled the scene in a white car and led police on a short chase. Officers forced the man off the road a few miles away and when he got out of his car police said they tried unsuccessfully to use a stun gun on him.
Weiner said, “At that point he had a machete and another knife in his hand and he lunged across the hood at the officers.”
That’s when police said an officer shot and killed the man. They did not immediately release his name.