Suspect in restaurant machete attack was on FBI’s radar

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Police have identified the suspect who was shot and killed following a violent machete attack at a northeast Columbus restaurant.

Police say Mohamed Barry, 30, walked into the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli on North Hamilton Road and attacked four people using a machete. He then fled the scene in a white vehicle.

A police helicopter located the vehicle, and officers were then able to maneuver the suspect off the road. Sgt. Rich Weiner said Barry then attempted to get out of the passenger side of the vehicle, and an officer Tased him with no effect.

Mohamed Barry
Mohamed Barry

When Barry lunged at an officer with a machete and a knife in his hand, Columbus Police Officer John Johnson, a 25-year veteran of the force, fired two shots from his duty weapon, striking and killing Barry.

Law enforcement officials say the FBI was looking at Barry for expressing radical Islamic views four years ago. For an unknown reason, the FBI moved on from him in their investigation.

He was in an FBI database, but the feds were not surveilling him at the time of last night’s attack. Law enforcement officials tell NBC News it is too soon to tell why he picked this restaurant, and say it’s also too soon to speculate on his possible affiliation with any specific groups.

NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams told NBC4 on Friday that his contacts were not aware of any connections between Barry and ISIS.

Friends of the family told NBC4 he is from Guinea but has lived in the United States since he was very young. His parents live out of state, and are expected to be here tomorrow.


Overnight, FBI agents were seen at a northeast Columbus apartment removing bins of evidence from one of the units. The FBI would not confirm the connection of the apartment scene to the attack.

All four victims in the attack are expected to survive. William Foley remains in critical but stable condition at Grant Medical Center. Gerald and Debbie Russel are both listed in stable condition, and Neil McMeekin has already been released from the hospital.


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