McDonald's employee charged in 'disturbing' shooting of two co-workers

Zachary Allart (Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Zachary Allart (Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
McDonald's on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson Township reopened Thursday afternoon (FOX19 NOW/Mike Schell)
McDonald's on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson Township reopened Thursday afternoon (FOX19 NOW/Mike Schell)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Saying the situation "could not be more serious or more disturbing," a Hamilton County judge set a high bond of $4 million Friday for the McDonald's employee accused of shooting and critically wounding two co-workers.

Zachary Allart, 20, stared straight ahead without emotion as he stood before Judge Josh Berkowitz.

Allart is charged with two counts of attempted murder in the double shooting of ex-girlfriend, Jayla Frost, and manager Denise Higgins inside the Beechmont Avenue McDonald's Wednesday night.

He shot Frost in the face and head and then shot Higgins in the back, court records state.

When deputies responded to the shooting less than a minute after it was reported, they found Allart holding a gun to his head and threatening to shoot himself, sheriff's officials have said.

Allart, "was observed by other officers holding a gun to his head and was also possibly holding Higgins hostage," the report states. "Once confronted by officers Allart was observed dropping the magazine and throwing the gun outside."

He is on suicide watch at the county jail and was dressed in a yellow uniform signaling that during his brief hearing.

Allart stared ahead without emotion, occasionally looking down, and did not speak.

His lawyer told the judge that Allart lives in the Mount Washington area with his mother and has a "virtually spotless record."

But authorities and court records tell a very different story.

A detective with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, Joe Bennett, repeatedly implored Berkowitz to set a high bond due to the violent nature of the shooting.

Allart was in a relationship with one of the two victims that had recently ended, the detective explained.

"What we are learning through our investigation is on that day, he was being asked to leave the store by management. He was being persistent, he wanted to talk to one of the victims and when that wasn't happening, that's when the incident occurred," Bennett said.

"One of the victims was shot twice to the head and the other victim was shot in the back. So because of their grave injuries and the crime, the sheriff's office is asking for a high bond."

Frost and Higgins both remained in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center at last check. Frost has life-threatening injuries, and her condition is considered "grave," a sheriff's spokesman has said.

An assistant county prosecutor noted Allart has an "assaultive history" including a misdemeanor assault conviction in February and was placed on probation.

He also has possibly attacked a teacher and was convicted as a juvenile for felony assault, according to the prosecutor.

"This was a targeted attack, your honor, vicious in nature, warranting, we believe, a high bond," the detective said.

The judge agreed, setting $2 million bond on each of the two attempted murder charges for a total bond of $4 million.

"The circumstances are, as the detective said, grave," Berkowitz said. "The situation could not be more serious or more disturbing."

He ordered Allart to have "absolutely no contact" with the victims or anyone else on his behalf to.

The case goes to a grand jury for likely indictment on Dec. 22.

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