Homeland Security

Terror in Ohio: Was Restaurant Targeted In Machete Attack Because of Israeli Owner?

Cover photo from Mark Albert.

UPDATE: CBS News is reporting that the FBI is investigating the incident as a lone wolf terror attack. Suspect is a Somali, Mohamed Barry:

CBS News has identified the suspect as Mohamed 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.

Original post:

A suspect who attacked patrons and staff at the Nazareth Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, with a machete last night was shot and killed by police minutes later, and there are some indications that the attack may have been motivated by the owner’s Israeli heritage.

Four people were transported to the hospital, one critically injured. Victims were able to get video of the suspect’s car and a partial license plate. Police were able to locate the suspect’s vehicle and gave chase. After spinning the car out, the suspect emerged with both a machete and a knife and lunged at police, at which point the suspect was shot and killed.

We have a name of the suspect, but police so far have refused to confirm so we are holding it at this time.

At a press conference late last night, a police spokesman was asked by reporters about claims the suspect was on the terror watchlist:

The scene was described as a “bloodbath”:

The popular owner of the restaurant is an Israeli Christian from Haifa. The husband of one of the victims claimed on Twitter last night that the suspect entered the restaurant and asked where the owner was from.

Police said that some kind of discussion or altercation then occurred at which time the suspect left. He then returned approximately 45 minutes later with the machete and immediately began attacking patrons and staff. They resisted and began throwing chairs at the suspect. One of the staff apparently grabbed some kind of weapon (the owner was known for walking around with an aluminum baseball bat) and the suspect fled.

I corresponded with the sister of one of the victims last night:

The FBI were tearing the suspect’s car apart last night and have searched the suspect’s home.

We will have more updates as they are available and when police confirm the identity of the suspect.