Officers recall 'disturbing' machete attack scene; family credits officers for saving couple's lives

Posted at 5:31 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 22:01:40-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A husband and wife are fighting for their lives in the hospital after a random machete attack that police described as disturbing. But family members say the fast actions of those officers saved the couple's lives.

Police say 35-year-old Kelvin Edwards attacked Kevin and Leanne Craft with a machete inside a storage building on 5th Avenue South Sunday afternoon. The attack was random and unprovoked.

Police said Edwards, who is homeless, expressed anger about COVID-19 and an inability to get into the Nashville Rescue Mission in an interview after his arrest. Currently, the homeless shelter is only accepting people who go get a COVID-19 test first after an outbreak according to a spokesperson.

MORE: Two critically injured after machete attack at storage building

Edwards allegedly grabbed the 18-inch machete from his bin at the facility and attacked the couple. One of the officers said based on the injuries he saw, they likely sustained "dozens of slashing and hacking wounds."

Metro Officers James Hill, James Wells Jr., Alexander Hartle, Gabriel Vasquez, William Hamblen, and Jordan Shaffer all responded to the scene.

Officer Phillip Claibourne was the first to get to the building. When he got there, he saw Edwards, with his hands up and weapon on the ground. Officer Claibourne took him into custody.

"I didn't actually go in to see the victims - a little tough for me because I wanted to go in and help but there was 30 seconds to a minute where Officer Hill got there. Witnesses were yelling to go in and help them but our training is to hold the suspect make sure he doesn't get away."

The next officer to arrive was Officer James Hill. He rushed inside to help the Crafts, and once he saw the scene, he said he knew he had to act fast.

"I've only been a police officer here for about two, two and a half years and I've seen a few disturbing incidents in my time, but just seeing the state of the victims - the trauma - it was something that was very disturbing," said Hill.

He and the other officers who had arrived to help began putting tourniquets on both Kevin and Leanne.

"It's impossible to put into words the scene that we were able to see - and was watching. I basically handed them a tourniquet and stayed out of their way. My hat's off to the officers for the job they did," said Officer Hamblen.

Leanne is currently in stable condition at the hospital, and her husband is still in critical condition. Family members sent the following letter to the department thanking them for their efforts and for saving the lives of their loved ones.

"My in-laws were the ones that were attacked. From the information gathered, the six officers who responded saved the Craft's lives. Thank you for serving and protecting.. we are forever grateful, god bless."