Businesses on Government St. attacked by masked gunmen; one man arrested

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One family experienced an absolutely terrifying moment at their business on Government St. Friday night. One of the owners of Anthony's Italian Deli was closing up when he was attacked by a man with a gun.

The crime was captured on surveillance video while another suspect hid behind the restaurant and watched. The man with the gun demanded money, then ran towards the man's wife, who was in a car.

She drove away, so the gunman returned to the man and pointed his weapon at the victim's temple. The suspect never fired, but instead ran away from the scene.

"He's a lot calmer now, but the day of and the day after, I mean he was just, I can't even explain it," said co-owner Marco Saia, speaking about the man that was attacked, his father.

Marco, his father, and mother all own the restaurant. He says he can't believe this happened to his family.

"We're talking about a 60-year-old man and woman," Saia said. "You know those are just, this is just the type of people that just don't, they have no consideration."

Police continue to search for the two men involved in the attempted robbery at Anthony's. They also say that in a six to eight day span surrounding that attack on December 23, other shops in the area were hit by similar attacks, including Cash Cow, Smoothie King, and Family Dollar. They say these attacks may be connected.

All of those incidents are under investigation. To top it off, on Tuesday night, Brew-Bacher's Grill, which is right across the street from Anthony's, was attacked by a masked man.

Surveillance video shows him pointing a gun at an employee, while forcing himself into the restaurant. Witnesses say he saw a surveillance camera and ran off. Later that night, police arrested the man that they believe was responsible, 22-year-old Erneston Nelson.

He was arrested on Sharp Rd. for attempted armed robbery. Brew-Bacher's owner, Davis Dicharry, says his staff was frightened by the attack, but they're doing much better now. He also said he's not shocked by attack, saying crime is a little more common around the holidays.

"We've always known that this ramps up during the holiday season. For whatever reason, whether people are trying to provide more than they should,"
Dicharry said.

Police do not believe that the attack on Brew-Bacher's is connected to the other crimes.

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