Monday morning in Nashville, a man who was fired from his job at a small fitness center allegedly came back and killed the owner with a hatchet.
The victim in this gruesome murder case is Joel Paavola, 46 years old and a father of five. On Monday, around 7 am, he was attacked by a man with a scraggy beard. The attacker was wielding a hatchet in one hand and a weapon that police later referred to as a “cutting instrument” in the other.
Cops believe the attacker was one Domenic Micheli, 36 years old and recently fired from his job at Paavola’s Balance Training. Balance Training is an independent gym in a shopping center in the Belle Meade district of Nashville. 14 months ago, Domenic Micheli was fired from his job there.
That led, apparently, to a psychotic break of some kind for Micheli. He drifted from state to state for a while, and earlier this year he was arrested in front of the White House. In that incident, Micheli was found at a checkpoint outside the White House behind the wheel of a car.
Cops asked Micheli to move his vehicle. He refused, and was arrested for unlawful entry. At this time records are not clear on whether he was charged with a crime in that incident or not.
On Monday morning, however, Dom Micheli was back in Nashville. He parked his slightly-beaten-up silver Toyota in an underground parking lot beneath the mall where his old workplace was located. Security footage shows him pacing back and forth in the lot, before going inside, towards the gym.
Then an attacker wielding a hatchet and a knife of some kind, and matching Domenic Micheli’s appearance and description, walked into Balance Training. He immediately sought out Paavola, and began to hack him down.
Witnesses described a struggle, according to Nashville police. Department spokesman Don Aaron told reporters that “Mr. Paavola obviously tried to defend himself against this attack. But Mr. Micheli was very brutal.”
Paavola, severely wounded by the violent attack, died in an ambulance on its way to the nearby Vanderbilt hospital. Micheli returned to his car and drove away from the scene of the crime.
To date, he has evaded capture. The Metro Nashville Police Department released a tweet with pictures of Micheli and his vehicle, and asking for tips from the public to help track him down. Police also believe that he may still be armed, and given his behavior, it’s fair to say he’s certainly dangerous.
If you live in the Nashville area, and you see Domenic Micheli or his vehicle, you can call 615-862-8600 to reach police with tips.