Employee at Georgia homeless center attacked by man with machete

ATHENS, Ga. — A man is in the Athens-Clarke County jail accused of using a machete to attack someone at a homeless shelter in Athens.

Arrest records show Cedric Smith, 33, faces charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime.

Officers said the attack happened around 4 p.m. on Thursday outside the Advantage Homeless Day Service Center on North Ave.

The facility was closed Friday, but staff who showed up spoke exclusively with Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco.

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John Burch said Smith was in the parking lot when he began hitting a staff member in the head with the machete.

“It is traumatic,” said John Burch. “We had four or five different people calling 911 to get them here. We had people applying pressure to him, making sure we could stop any bleeding.”

Athens Police Department Lt. Jody Thompson said officers arrested Smith in under 15 minutes.

“Upon arrival, our officers were met with an abundance of assistance from the witnesses and patrons of the Homeless Day Center,” said Thompson. “Their assistance was vital to the capture of this violent suspect and prompt medical care of the victim.”


Staff at the facility said their co-worker’s family is by his side in the hospital. They did not open the day center Friday and expect to remain closed until Tuesday.

The staff member was later identified as Chris Sullen and he remains at Grady Memorial Hospital.

“Just trying to make our way through it the best we can,” said Burch.

Smith’s criminal record shows he served more than four years in state prison for an aggravated assault case that occurred in 2017. He was out on parole when the machete attack happened.

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