Nashville Hatchet Murder Suspect Once Was Arrested Near White House

The Metro Nashville Police Department named Domenic Micheli, 36, as a suspect for the murder of another man on Monday morning.

The victim was identified as 46-year-old Joel Paavola, who was brutally killed with a hatchet and another "cutting instrument" at a fitness business early Monday morning in a southwest suburb of the city. The Tennessean reports Micheli was fired from the business by Paavola about 14 months ago according to police.

Micheli was previously arrested back on April 27 in Washington D.C. when he drove his car to a checkpoint near the White House and refused to move.

Security cameras place Micheli near the scene just before the attack as he was spotting pacing in a nearby parking garage.

Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron gave more details on the killing in a press conference. He said Micheli was driving either a Toyota Yaris or Prius and was armed with a hatchet and at least one other sharp object, either a second hatchet or a large knife.

"Just a senseless, brutal, violent attack this morning on Mr. Paavola as he was there in the business," Aaron said.

Belle Meade Police Chief Tim Eads put out a safety warning to residents of the suburb early in the afternoon, asking anyone who had been in contact with him recently to come forward.

"It is believed that (suspect Domenic Micheli) may have been a personal trainer for some of our residents over the years," Eads wrote.

The MNPD then released a mugshot of Micheli at 4:25 p.m. local time, saying the hunt for him was still ongoing.


"Search continues for accused murderer Domenic Micheli," the department's official Twitter account wrote. "This photo is from his April 2018 arrest in Washington, D.C. for unlawful entry at a checkpoint near the White House."

The department released another Tweet earlier in the day with a more-recent photo of Micheli, who had grown a thicker beard since his April arrest.