There was a shocking attack in Manhattan Sunday. The story caught people’s attention when the NY Post published surveillance video Wednesday. The video shows 50-year-old Miguel Solorzano getting money out of an ATM when 37-year-old Aaron Garcia walks into the bank holding a hatchet. Garcia then started attacking Solorzano from behind and swinging the weapon at his head. After the brutal attack, Garcia smashed the ATM machines, dropped the hatchet and walked out.
— I,Hypocrite (@lporiginalg) August 18, 2021
Fortunately, Solorzano received help and is said to be in stable condition at the hospital. Garcia was arrested a few hours later when cops on patrol saw him smashing car windows with a hammer.
Investigators got Garcia’s name from that incident and were looking for him when he went berserk in Chelsea, cops said. He had ditched the hatchet in the bank and was now swinging a hammer, authorities allege.
Police said Garcia started breaking car windows at about 8 p.m. Then, as he walked past Elmo’s Restaurant on Seventh Ave. near W. 20th St., he bumped into a 54-year-old stranger. He raised his hammer as if he was going to hit him and grunted before running off, cops said.
He allegedly bashed in a window at Rebar Chelsea, a popular gay bar on W. 19th St. and Seventh Ave., before being arrested around the corner, cops said.
It turns out Garcia was already wanted by police in Yonkers where he has a record for stalking and harassment. He has now been charged with attempted murder though it seems likely there is going to be some evidence he is mentally disturbed. His mother told the NY Post he was changed by his three tours in Iraq. He spent some time in a VA hospital but it didn’t seem to help him.
Sarah, 64, said Aaron received some mental-health treatment at a Veterans Administration hospital but that it had no effect on his declining condition.
“I would bring it up, saying, ‘What is it the doctor told you?’ He’d say, ‘They think they’re evaluating me, but I’m evaluating them,’ ” she said…
Aaron’s mental illness included a delusional belief about a looming natural disaster, she said.
“For a while, he was talking about some volcano that was going to erupt in Yellowstone [National Park], and he wanted me to pack, along with the good people I have around me, and go someplace safe,” she said.
It’s not clear if Garcia was homeless but he had moved out of his mothers house a year ago. As for the political reaction within the city, Mayor de Blasio got blasted by the Post’s editorial board for minimizing the attack which begged him to show some compassion for the victims and for the mentally ill who were suffering on the street:
Mayor de Blasio is really worried about the shocking random attack in an ATM vestibule by a man wielding a hatchet.
Worried, that is, that we may “stereotype” people with mental-health issues. “Very, very few [mentally ill people] have a violence problem,” he insisted Wednesday…
And even if a tiny percentage of the mentally ill turn violent, that small group still instills fear and death across the city. This isn’t “stereotyping” — this is begging, begging de Blasio to have one iota of compassion.
The NY Times pointed out that there were two other random, violent attacks in the city on the same night and nearly the same time as the hatchet attack:
At about 6:50 p.m. at the Atlantic Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, one man approached another and punched him repeatedly, cutting the victim and breaking bones in his face before running off, the police said. Shortly before that on West 54th Street in Manhattan, the police said, a man accosted a 63-year-old Asian woman, punching her in the face and then shoving her to the ground while making anti-Asian comments.
Clearly this isn’t a one-off. It’s not even the first hatchet attack I can remember in the city. I think a lot of New Yorkers are probably look at this and feeling relieved that Eric Adams is going to be the city’s next mayor instead of some far left “defund the police” candidate.
This horrifying attack is the result of multiple failures of a dysfunctional government. Protecting innocent New Yorkers and preventing these incidents—not just reacting to them—must be the immediate goal of law enforcement and our mental health services. https://t.co/IiJlRkIIAq
— Eric Adams (@ericadamsfornyc) August 18, 2021
Here’s a report from CBS New York.