UPDATE: Last updated Friday at 12:30 p.m. to include the identify of the assailant and reports that police believe he may have thought the owner was Jewish.
(JTA) — Police in central Ohio shot and killed a man who stormed into an Arab-Israeli-owned restaurant wielding a machete and randomly attacking patrons, authorities said.
Four people were injured in the brutal attack Thursday evening at Nazareth Restaurant and Deli, a Mediterranean restaurant in Columbus, The Associated Press reported. The victims were taken to an area hospital and were expected to recover.
Police identified the assailant as Mohamed Bary and said he had asked a worker at the establishment where the owner was from originally. Sources told NBC News Friday that investigators are looking into whether the attacker mistakenly believed the owner was Jewish.
“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 Arab Israeli Christian originally from Haifa. He told the Columbus Dispatch he believes the restaurant was targeted because he is Israeli.
“I am the minor, minor, minor of the minority,” he said. “So nobody likes me.”
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.
“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.