2016 Ohio restaurant machete attack

On February 11, 2016, Mohamed Barry, a native of Guinea who was a permanent resident in the United States and had been working in computer programming and information technology, entered the Nazareth Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, and began to attack customers with a machete, injuring four. Barry was killed as he attempted to attack police officers with his machete. Four years prior to the incident, he had been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for making radical statements. The attack was investigated as a possible instance of lone-wolf terrorism. In 2017, the White House said it was a terrorist attack.

Ohio restaurant machete attack
LocationColumbus, Ohio, U.S. 40°03′50″N 82°51′48″W / 40.06389°N 82.86333°W / 40.06389; -82.86333Coordinates: 40°03′50″N 82°51′48″W / 40.06389°N 82.86333°W / 40.06389; -82.86333
DateFebruary 11, 2016
6:00 p.m. (EST)
Attack type
Mass stabbing
Deaths1 (the perpetrator)
PerpetratorMohamed Barry
MotiveIslamic extremism


Barry first entered the restaurant at about 5:20 p.m. and spoke to an employee. The nature of that conversation has not been revealed by investigators.[1] However, NBC News reported that Barry asked the employee where the restaurant's owner was from.[2] According to restaurant owner Hany Baransi, the employee told Barry that Barsani is from Israel. Barry left the restaurant afterwards and returned half an hour later, armed with a machete.[3]

Barry immediately swung his machete to attack Debbie and Gerald Russell, both 43,[4] who were sitting in a booth near the front of the restaurant.[1] He then moved on to the next table of people and then attacked Bill Foley, a musician performing at the restaurant and a friend of Baransi's. Neil McMeekin, at the 2nd table attacked, was able to get Barry off of Foley by hitting him with a chair.[5][6] Shafi Ali, an immigrant from Dubai and an employee of Nazareth Restaurant, then drove Barry off with a metal baseball bat.[1][7] Foley, the Russells, and Neil McMeekin all suffered injuries from the attack. About twenty people were inside the restaurant at the time of the attack.[8]

Barry fled the scene in a white Toyota Corolla and collided shortly thereafter with a Mercedes. The driver of the Mercedes called 9-1-1, explaining that he had just gotten into an accident and that the other driver had a large knife.[4] During the police pursuit, officers ran a routine search on the license plate number of the car Barry was driving; the search triggered an alert instructing the pursuing officers to contact the local terrorism task force.[9]

The officers tried to execute a PIT maneuver to force his Toyota off the road, but it was unsuccessful. A second PIT maneuver succeeded, and the vehicle crashed into a street curb. As officers approached the vehicle, Barry emerged and lunged at them with the machete and a filet knife, yelling "Allahu Akbar!"[10] He was first tasered by officers, but when this did not stop him, they fired their guns.[1][4][8] Barry was shot repeatedly[11] and died of a bullet wound in his neck.[12]

Barry was 30 at the time of his death. A native of Guinea in West Africa,[13] he had arrived in the U.S. in 2000.[7] At the time of the attack, he was in the U.S. legally on a green card.[14] He had worked in computer programming and information technology.[15]

FBI investigationEdit

Although he did not have any encounters with Columbus police,[13] Barry was known to the FBI for making radical comments. The FBI has not released details of their investigation into him, which took place four years before the attack.[2] Jeff Pegues, the homeland security correspondent for CBS News, reported that "law enforcement is concerned that this incident has the hallmarks of the type of so-called 'lone wolf' terrorist attack."[16]

An investigation into the possibility of Berry being a self-radicalized Islamist terrorist was launched a week after the attack.[17] As of May 10, 2016, authorities have not ruled out the possibility that Barry was a self-radicalized "lone wolf".[18]

Nazareth RestaurantEdit

Hany Baransi, the owner and manager of the popular restaurant on North Hamilton Road,[19] describes himself as an Israeli Christian Arab who immigrated to America from Haifa, Israel.[1][20] He has been operating Nazareth Restaurant in a local strip mall for 27 years.[3][21] Nazareth is known for serving Middle Eastern dishes including shawarma, gyros, lamb kebabs, and stuffed grape leaves.[22] An Israeli flag is on display inside his restaurant.[23]

The Washington Post described Barsani as a "popular local figure" and his restaurant as a "multicultural mingling place"; a painting of a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim in amicable conversation hangs on the wall.[7]

Baransi believes that the attack was an act of terrorism because he is Israeli and added that there were a number of other restaurants in the strip mall that Barry could have chosen to attack.[20][21] However, an FBI official stated that the investigation was still in its early stages and that it was too soon to jump to conclusions.[4]


Columbus area musicians organized a benefit concert to raise funds for the victims.[24]

The restaurant was closed down in the immediate wake of the attack, with a partial reopening four days after the attack.[25][26] Baransi expected the restaurant to be fully back to normal operation by February 19.[27] The restaurant fully reopened at 11:00 a.m. on that day,[28] but it was abruptly closed down again hours later, with a post on social media clarifying that the staff needed more time to recuperate.[29]

In the days immediately after the attack, Barsani announced his belief that his employees were in danger because of his Israeli background and the hatred he and his staff were subsequently subjected to. He also added that he loved the U.S., but felt it was no longer safe; that local and national officials had not offered support to him, the victims, and his employees and customers; and that he was disappointed the attack was not being recognized as an act of terrorism.[6][30][31] Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther told reporters that he hoped to persuade Barsani to stay in Columbus.[32][33][34]

The restaurant stayed open, although Barsani continued to assert that authorities in Columbus and the United States in general do not take the threat of terrorist sufficiently seriously.[35]

In November 2016, following a car-ramming and stabbing attack at Ohio State University, Columbus Police Deputy Chief Michael Woods compared it to the restaurant attack committed by Barry as also a potential act of terrorism.[36]

In February 2017, the White House listed the machete attack as a terrorist attack.[37]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Stelloh, Tim (February 14, 2016). "'A Lot of Hate and Anger': Victims Recall Gruesome Ohio Machete Attack". NBC News. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Pete (February 12, 2016). "FBI Looked at Ohio Machete Attacker Four Years Ago". NBC News. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Moshe, Shiri (February 14, 2016). "Owner of Ohio Deli Targeted by Machete Terrorist: "We Are Israeli, We Fight Back"". The Tower. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Franko, Kantele (February 12, 2016). "'No Rhyme or Reason' for Machete Attack at Ohio Restaurant". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  5. ^ "Married Couple Injured in Machete Attack Call Survival a 'Miracle'". ABC News. February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Witness Describes His Attempt To Stop Machete Attack Suspect". 10tv.com.
  7. ^ a b c Miller, Michael (January 16, 2016). "Random act or Islamist terrorism? Questions linger as Ohio restaurant reopens after machete attack". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Anderson, Evan; Bacome, Tylar; Baca, Nathan (February 11, 2016). "Cops Kill Suspect After Violent Machete Attack At Northeast Columbus Restaurant". WBNS-10TV. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "Information About Attacker's Car Alerted FBI". ABCNews. Associated Press. February 12, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  10. ^ SHELBY CROFT (19 May 2016). "Nazareth Restaurant Reopens After Machete Attack". WBNS-TV. Retrieved 18 January 2019. Sources say Barry yelled out the phrase “Allahu Akbar”, meaning God is greater, before police gunned him down.
  11. ^ "Coroner: Machete attacker from Ohio eatery was shot in neck". WDTN. Associated Press. February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  12. ^ Landers, Kevin (January 16, 2016). "Report: Machete Attacker Died From Gun Shot Wound To Neck". WBNS. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Man who struck Ohio diners with machete was from Guinea, FBI says". Fox News. Associated Press. February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  14. ^ Bacome, Tyler (February 12, 2016). "CBS Confirms Machete Attack Suspect Was In United States On Green Card". WBNS 10TV. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  15. ^ Jarosz, Brooks (February 15, 2016). "Machete attacker had computer background". ABC News. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  16. ^ Pegues, Jeff (February 12, 2016). "Cops kill man after machete attack at Ohio deli". CBS News. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  17. ^ Pearson, Michael (February 12, 2016). "Ohio restaurant attacker possible 'lone wolf,' law enforcement source says". CNN. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  18. ^ Chiaramonte, Perry (May 10, 2016). "Ohio restaurant owner says he was machete-wielding terrorist's target". Fox News. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  19. ^ Seman, Gary (November 3, 2004), Mideast Feast (Restaurant review, includes discussion of owner), Columbus Dispatch
  20. ^ a b Levine, Steve (February 16, 2016). "Machete attack suspect may have been yelling when he went after officers". ABC 6. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  21. ^ a b "The Latest: Owner thinks eatery was targeted, FBI not sure". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 12, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  22. ^ Wang, Yanan (February 12, 2016). "'I just thought he was going to...slash me up': Machete attack at Middle Eastern restaurant in Ohio". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  23. ^ Moshe, Shiri (February 14, 2016). "Owner of Ohio Deli Targeted by Machete Terrorist: "We Are Israeli, We Fight Back"". The Tower. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  24. ^ Downing, Andy (February 18, 2016). "Local musicians band together to raise funds for Nazareth attack victims". Columbus Alive. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  25. ^ "Israeli Arab-owned Restaurant in Ohio Reopens After Machete Attack". Haaretz. JTA. February 16, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  26. ^ Lo, Karen (February 16, 2016). "Ohio Restaurant Owned by Christian Israeli Reopens Days After Suspected Terror Attack". The Daily Meal. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  27. ^ Wolf, Carlo (February 18, 2016). "Life returning to normal at Israeli-owned Columbus eatery". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  28. ^ Murphy, Katelyn (February 19, 2016). "Nazareth Restaurant opens to hugs". ABC6. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  29. ^ "Nazareth Restaurant To Close For Undetermined Amount Of Time". 10TV. February 19, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  30. ^ "Future Of Nazareth Restaurant In Doubt As Owner Mulls Future In U.S. (UPDATED)". WBNS 10-TV. February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  31. ^ Rinehart, Earl (February 18, 2016). "Despite anxieties, owner plans to keep Nazareth Restaurant Open". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  32. ^ Murphy, Katelyn (February 18, 2016). "Nazareth restaurant owner says he's scared, considering leaving the country". ABC6. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  33. ^ Sells, Heather (February 19, 2016). "'Je Suis Nazareth': Support Pours in for Israeli Deli Owner after Attack". CBN. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  34. ^ Ghert-Zand, Renee (May 30, 2016). "Israeli's Ohio restaurant closes doors in aftermath of machete attack". Times of Israel. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  35. ^ Meyer, Tami Kamin (13 March 2017). "The aftermath of the Nazareth Restaurant attack". Columbus Monthly. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Terrorism cases from the past 12 years in central Ohio". The Columbus Dispatch. November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  37. ^ John Wagner; Philip Rucker (6 February 2017). "Here are the 78 terrorist attacks the White House says were largely underreported". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2019.

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