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Paterson Police Arrest 3 Men Caught On Tape In Machete Attack

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- They've got their men.

Police said Wednesday they've arrested the trio caught on tape attacking two people, including chopping at one victim with a machete. The Paterson Police Department turned to social media in its hunt for the attackers, posting the stunning video of the attack on its Facebook page.


The incident took place on Sept. 10 at the U.S. Chicken restaurant at 194 Straight St. Police said the "vicious assault" began just before 4 a.m.

There were two attacks, said Paterson Police Capt. Heriberto Rodriguez.

"Both attacks were unprovoked, as far as we could see. Nothing was taken in the second attack," Rodriguez told CBSNewYork.

In the first case, the victim, seen on the video wearing a white shirt with a black insignia on the top left corner, was attempting to walk out of the restaurant when he was confronted by two men in the doorway. While they talk, police say Omar Villota, 22, comes up behind him and pistol whips him in the back of the head. The trio tumble into the street.

Things then go from bad to worse.

Machete Attack
L-R: Tyree Seegers, Omar Villota, Johel Gomez (credit: Paterson Police)

A few minutes later, the group comes tumbling back into the restaurant, this time struggling with a second victim. The second victim is seen on tape being repeatedly punched in the face, allegedly by 20-year-old Johel Gomez. Police said Tyree Seegers, 22, then started hacking at the second victim with a machete.

According to police, Seegers is seen on the tape hacking at the victim at least 14 times with the machete. During one of his swings, he chops into Villota, who is continually pistol-whipping the victim. Seegers nearly severs Villota's right arm, leaving a blood trail that the cops used to track them down.

As the victim lays apparently unconscious on the ground, Gomez allegedly kicks him in the head.

Gomez, Seegers and Villota have all been arrested. Seegers was picked up early Wednesday morning after turning himself in.

Amazingly, despite the intensity of the punches, kicking and hacking with the machete, the second victim is not seriously hurt, police say.

"He's doing alright," said Rodriguez. "He was banged up... nothing life threatening, thank God."

Rodriguez said the reason the victim is still alive is because Seegers was lousy with the machete.

"The one time he swung it straight and effectively, he hit his own counterpart, his owns friend," Rodriguez said.

Police are still seeking the first victim and want him to come forward.

Rodriguez said he was happy to have a tool like Facebook.

"We turned to Facebook for help... Seegers turned himself in because he felt all this pressure from everywhere."

Rodrguez said they department will continue to use the social media site to publicize wanted crooks.

If convicted, what do you feel the appropriate punishment in this case is? Sound off in our comments section.

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