Investigators are looking into whether the machete-wielding man who slashed four people in a Columbus, Ohio, restaurant attacked the eatery in the mistaken belief that the owner was Jewish, sources told NBC News on Friday.
The attacker — identified by several law enforcement sources as Mohamed Barry — had asked a worker at the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli where owner Hany Baransi was from, investigators said. Baransi is an Arab Christian from Haifa, Israel.
In a 911 call released by police, the dispatcher makes reference to "a male Muslim in a head scarf and blue shirt." It was not immediately clear if she was referring to the suspect.
Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Weiner told NBC affiliate WCMH the suspect began swinging the machete at customers and employees with "no rhyme or reason" upon entering the restaurant, leading officials to believe this is "just a random attack."
Barry was shot dead by officers after leading police on a five-mile car chase through the city.