Couple injured in machete stabbing describes restaurant attack

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On a night when many couples are out celebrating Valentine’s Day, Debbie and Gerry Russell are sharing a hospital room and celebrating the fact that they are alive.

“We are okay,” Debbie Russell said on Sunday from her hospital bed. “We have a lot of healing. We support, we love the fact that everyone has been there for us.”

The Russells were two of the four victims Columbus police said were injured in Thursday’s stabbing attack at the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli. They were sitting in a front booth, and had just finished dinner when Gerry Russell spotted a man entering the restaurant with what they thought was a baton. That man, Mohamed Barry, actually held a machete as he eyed Gerry.

“He had a look on his face that was undescribable,” he said. “And it was just a lot of hate and anger and I have no idea where the rage is coming from.”

The couple said Barry first went after Gerry, trying to slash his head. He covered his head with his hand. He then swung at Debbie, slicing her hands too. Both suffered major damage to their fingers as the suspect ran from the store.

The Russells have had more than 5 hours of surgery and are left with hundreds of stitches in the aftermath. They’re still not sure why they were targeted, but Debbie Russell said they plan on getting through the traumatic experience together.

“Everybody is going to rally behind everybody,” she said. “It’s gonna bring our community together. And you know what? We’re all survivors in it. And it’s good” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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