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Police searching for masked man who stabbed Whitehaven restaurant employee

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police have now identified the man accused of stabbing a restaurant employee and robbing the restaurant.

The man now being identified as Eric Balkin has been on the run for two weeks now. Police say Balkin appeared with a knife, took a hostage and demanded money from employees at Hong Kong Restaurant in Whitehaven.

“I had some tourists in the restaurant and as soon as they heard it and they took off,” said restaurant manager David Hom.

Forgetting their orders and making a run for it.

“He was all covered up, had on a black do-rag, his whole face was covered, all you could see was his eyes,” added Hom.

Hom was working the cash register just before close on Wednesday night two weeks ago when the man police have identified as Balkin burst from the kitchen area of the restaurant demanding cash and stabbing an employee at the same time.

“Dude had the knife in his back, looked like he was stabbing him in the back, then he was cutting him in the arm and stuff,” added Hom.

Hom says he wanted to react but feared upsetting Balkin, who was already hurting one of his cooks. Hom says the masked man took that cook hostage after breaking into the restaurant through the back door.

“I was thinking, ‘should I do something?’, but if something would have happened to the hostage the blame would have been on me,” recalls Hom.

Trying to keep from making matters worse, Hom just turned over the cash without putting up a fight.

“After I gave him the money dude took off and left the restaurant one of my employees got in the car and tried to chase him, after he got in his getaway car,” added Hom.

Hom says another employee turned over the license plate of the getaway car. Since the horrific night, police have been on the hunt for Balkin but have yet to make an arrest. As for Hom, he says it’s business as usual at Hong Kong Restaurant; he says money can be replaced, but a life can’t.

If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH.

The employee only had minor injuries from the attack. The restaurant says he was a temporary employee who was visiting from New York, helping out because they were short-handed in the kitchen.

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