Tribune staff reports
The man accused of striking a foreign exchange student in the back with a hatchet in downtown Nashville on Thursday is expected in court Monday afternoon to hear what official charges he will face.
Dana Ericson, 59, of Nashville, was charged preliminarily Friday with attempted murder, a Level 1 felony; aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony; and battery causing serious injury, a Level 5 felony.
Those charges could be amended.
Police said Ericson admitted to officers that he attacked 18-year-old Brown County High School student Zhang Yue because she is Asian. He said he was attempting “ethnic cleansing.”
He called himself a white supremacist and the attack “communication.” Ericson has a history of violent crimes and of time spent in psychiatric hospitals, according to online court records.
Yue, of China, was taking pictures for a high school photography class on the corner of Van Buren and Gould streets at about 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18 when the attack occurred “out of the blue,” Sgt. Mike Moore said.
Witnesses reported to police that they heard Ericson yell something like “I am going to kill you” as Yue was walking away from the man.
He pursued her up a hill and she felt something hit her back. The officer’s report said she was able to take a photo of the man as he was leaving.
Officers found him near the intersection where the attack occurred.
Yue was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital for a 1½- to 2-inch-long and 1-inch-deep wound, which hit close to her spinal column, Moore’s report said.