People who witnessed a man viciously slashing a bloody, 18-year-old woman with a machete in broad daylight Thursday called 911 to report the attack that they felt helpless to stop, according to recordings of the calls released Friday.
“He’s hacking into her,” said a panicked caller, begging dispatchers to send help. “Oh, my God.”
The Apex Police Department released five calls to 911 dispatchers from people who pleaded with dispatchers to send help while the man stood over the woman on a sidewalk in the Bella Casa subdivision.
Neel Salil Mehta, 20, of Cary, was arrested and is accused of attacking Priyanka Kumari after she got off a school bus at about 3 p.m. in the 1800 block of Venezia Way.
Mehta appeared by video from the Wake County detention center in front of Wake County District Court Judge Margaret Eagles on Friday for his first court hearing since his arrest. Wake County Assistant District Attorney Anna Davis told the judge that prosecutors planned to upgrade the charge against Mehta to attempted murder.
“When interviewed, the defendant admitted to attacking ... his ex-girlfriend,” Davis said.
She added that Mehta told police Kumari had not been returning his text messages, emails or calls. After further investigation, Davis said, it appeared he had been stalking her for some time and had been planning the attack for several weeks.
‘Close your eyes’
The names of the 911 callers were not released. One woman said she was parked near where the attack took place and was heading home from school when it began. She could be heard telling someone squealing in the background, “Close your eyes.”
Near hysterics, she described a man wearing a hooded coat and wielding a machete stabbing and slashing the head and body of a woman bleeding profusely.
“He’s stepping on her throat,” the caller said. “He’s trying to kill her.”
Another caller said the attack had been going on for five minutes and that he felt powerless to stop it.
“We got to get the cops here,” he said. “I can’t help her. There’s a big blade.”
Mehta dropped the knife when officers approached him, said police spokesman Capt. Blair Myhand. He was treated for minor injuries he apparently got during the attack, Myhand said.
Kumari suffered wounds to her face, neck and hands and has had at least one surgery and is likely to need more, Davis said Friday. She requested that the judge deny bail in the case, but Eagles set a $2 million cash bond and scheduled a court hearing for Feb. 3.
Mehta asked for a public defender and asked the judge about the cash bond and how much he would have to put up if a bail bondsman helped with his release before trial.
Eagles ordered Mehta not to have any contact with Kumari before his case is decided. He is not to contact her through social media or be within 500 feet of her at any time.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi