McDonald's employee Zachary Allart was shooting to kill when he opened fire on two co-workers inside the Beechmont Avenue restaurant, court records state.
Allart, 20, tried to kill ex-girlfriend Jayla Frost by firing two shots from his handgun, striking her in the head and face, a Hamilton County sheriff's detective wrote in a criminal complaint.
He shot their manager, Denise Higgins, in the back, another court record states.
Both women were rushed to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where they are listed in critical condition. Frost's injuries are considered life-threatening and "grave," sheriff's officials said.
Four people, including two co-workers and a customer in the drive-thru window, called 911 when shots rang out just before 11 p.m.
"One crew member just shot another crew member!" a breathless co-worker yelled, according to a recording of the call released Thursday.
"Where's the person with the gun right now?" the dispatcher asked.
"He's still in there! His name is Zach! His name is Zach! Oh my God....I'm outside. I know he's in there still. I'm not going back in there."
One customer told dispatchers:
"I'm down here at the Anderson McDonald's. One of the employees inside has a gun and he's shooting the gun. The employees are running out of the store. I'm at the drive-thru. I heard the gun going off through the speaker and then they all came running out. I believe at least two, it might have been three. Oh, God! Somebody's running out this door now. Two or three? Two or three shots. Three women came running out of the store and told me to call the police. Another woman just ran out with her headset on. They said an employee was shooting the gun."
Deputies responded in less than a minute, sheriff's officials said. They found Allart holding a gun to his head and threatening to shoot himself. Deputies deescalated the situation, and Allart surrendered his gun.
He was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder and booked into the county jail. Allart is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 9 a.m. Friday.
The incident is suspected to be related to a domestic dispute, sheriff’s officials said. They declined to elaborate further on the motive until after the case goes before a Hamilton County grand jury.
Corporate spokesman Phil Saken said Allart and Frost worked at the restaurant for nearly two years and nearly a year, respectively. Saken said Higgins has worked with the organization for several years, and at the Beechmont restaurant for several months.
The owner released a prepared statement through a corporate spokesman for the Ohio and Michigan regions:
"Our hearts go out to all involved. We are cooperating with the investigating authorities and defer any further questions to them."
The restaurant reopened Thursday around 4 p.m.
Witnesses described the scene as chaotic and frightening, uncommon for the normally quiet eastern Hamilton County community.
"I was driving to McDonald's and as I pulled in I saw a cop," Sammy Tull said. "There were three people in front of me trying to get out of the parking lot and we couldn't get anywhere."
Tull said she saw a man standing at a door with a gun. At that point, she said, five or six officers with their weapons drawn were on scene apprehending the suspect.
"They were like, 'Drop your weapon, drop your weapon!'" she said.
Allart has just one prior case in the Hamilton County court system.
He was arrested in January and charged with assaulting two people, including at least one employee, outside a United Dairy Farmer store on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson Township, court records show. He put a male in a headlock and repeatedly punched him, sheriff's officials wrote in a criminal complaint. Another court record states he grabbed a female employee's arm as she tried to break up the fight, scraping her arm.
The assault charge related to the employee was dropped in exchange for Allart pleading to assault on the male, records show. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 179 of them suspended and given credit for one day in jail already served.
Allart also was ordered to be on probation 11 months, but it was terminated in June, according to court records. It was not immediately clear why Thursday.
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