Suspect sought in nightclub machete attack

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s officials have issued a felony arrest warrant for a man accused of slicing the face and head of two people with a machete during a fight outside Los Diablos nightclub.

Nelson Orlando Hernandez-Palmas, 24, 9346 Prescott Road, Baton Rouge, is wanted on counts of attempted second-degree murder in the Sept. 22 attack, according to court filings.

Both victims — a 17-year-old man and a 20-year-old man — are expected to recover, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

A large group of men who began fighting in the bathroom after 1 a.m. were kicked out of the establishment after the fracas “spilled out into the club,” according to an arrest warrant. The men began fighting again in the parking lot of the 8509 Greenwell Springs Road club.

At some point during the fight, Hernandez-Palmas is accused of retrieving a machete from his vehicle, a 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage, and began chasing the victims around the parking lot. He struck the 17-year-old in the face, the warrant says, “slicing his nose and lip almost in half.”

The 20-year-old was struck on the left side of his forehead, the top portion of his scalp nearly cut off.

The warrant says both men survived their injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital. Hernandez-Palmas, who according to court records is in the country without legal permission, fled the scene, leaving his vehicle at the nightclub. Detectives identified him as a suspect after interviewing witnesses.

The warrant says Hernandez-Palmas was deported to Honduras in May 2009.

“Detectives are still looking for the suspect at this time,” Hicks said Monday, noting the investigation remains ongoing.

A call to the nightclub Monday evening was not immediately returned.

Detectives also issued an arrest warrant for Cindy Guadalupe Cruz, a 23-year-old woman said to share an address with Hernandez-Palmas. Cruz, wanted for obstruction of justice, reported the Mitsubishi Mirage stolen several hours after the fight and denied knowing Hernandez-Palmas when speaking to deputies, a warrant says.

The warrant notes the two suspects are in a relationship and were arrested this year in a theft investigation.

Machete attacks have been reported on at least two previous occasions this year. In St. Tammany Parish, a 16-year-old boy with ties to the notorious MS-13 gang in Los Angeles was arrested on counts of attempted second-degree murder June 28 after he allegedly assaulted his brother’s friend with a 28-inch machete.

He attacked the victim from behind, chopping off his right ear lobe and narrowly missing the carotid artery.

And on July 20, Daniel Scott, 38, of Baton Rouge, was arrested after bringing a machete to a street fight and slashing a man in the face. The victim said he and Scott had been arguing all day, and when they walked into the street to fight, Scott was carrying a machete.

Staff writer Ryan Broussard contributed to this report.