The ax-wielding suspect whose violent rampage at a New York City McDonald’s restaurant was caught on camera was released without bail following an arraignment hearing on Sunday, reports say.
Michael Palacios, 31, was released without bail following an arraignment on charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief and possession of weapons charges, the New York Post reported, citing the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Neither offense is eligible for bail under the state’s controversial criminal justice reforms.
The NYPD told Fox News Digital that Palacios removed an ax from his backpack and menaced two unknown males inside the McDonald’s on Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side early Friday morning.
“The suspect intentionally caused property damage to the establishment,” a police spokesperson said. “The individual was taken into custody by responding officers. A search incident to a lawful arrest, an additional knife was recovered from his backpack. Victims did not report any injuries.”
The Post reported that a witness said Palacios grew enraged when a woman rejected his advances. Cell phone video circulating social media shows several males intervening and punching Palacios before backing up. Palacios, standing by a garbage can, opens his backpack and takes out a blade.
“Bro, please,” one male says as Palacios begins to strike the wall and tables.
“You better chill, boy!” a male bystander yells. Palacio smacks another male in the head.
A criminal complaint, cited by WGN-TV, says Palacios is accused of striking two tables and two pieces of glass with the ax.
In an interview with ABC News, Palacios said he was first assaulted by three male patrons and only took out the “tomahawk” from his backpack to “get back at” them and defend himself.
“My intentions were not to hurt anyone… My intentions were not to put anyone in the hospital or dice anybody up,” he told ABC. “The reason why I pulled out the hatchet was, ‘Ok, I’m gonna get back at these guys… I’m gonna make sure that they don’t jump me again.’”
“I waited for them to finish what they were doing, and I just did what I wanted to do,” he said. “The most important thing is, don’t be afraid to defend yourself.”
Palacios also admitted that he was drinking at the time and a McDonald’s security guard had refused his request to use a restroom. He said he did not feel charges were necessary for the other males involved.
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin condemned Palacios’ release on cashless bail, a measure supported by his opponent, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“This guy hacked up tables and walls at a McDonald’s, swung his hatchet wildly at customers, and got released before his fries got cold,” Zeldin said, according to WGN-TV. “Cashless bail in New York must be repealed ASAP!”
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.