The man accused of flying an ax-wielding stampede at a Lower East Side McDonald’s says he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone — just teach them a lesson.
Michael Palacios, 31, a Manhattan messenger, said in an interview that he was only trying to intimidate McDonald’s patrons, who punched him Friday morning when he pulled a “tomahawk” out of his bag and started dangling.
“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” Palacios told ABC-News. “It was not my intention to put anyone in the hospital or beat anyone up.
“The reason I took the hatchet out was because, ‘Okay, I’m going to go back to these guys,'” Palacios told the outlet. “‘I’m going to make sure they don’t jump at me again.’ ,
Cellphone footage from a stampede inside a Delancy Street fast-food eatery shortly before 2:30 a.m. Friday shows Palacios trying to talk to a woman at the restaurant.
An Uber Eats driver who shot the incident on his cellphone said that Palacios was furious when the woman “rejected” him.
But Palacios, who reportedly admitted to ABC that he was drinking at the time, only told the outlet that the incident happened after a security guard denied his request to use the bathroom. Palacios claimed he had an argument with a customer and things went south from there.
According to the Uber Eats driver and video, three patrons jumped and punched him.
Palacios then took out the ax and ransacked the restaurant.
“I waited for them to do what they were doing, and I did what I wanted to do,” he told ABC. “The most important thing is not to be afraid to defend yourself.”
Palacios said that he carried the ax in his bag because of his job as a messenger.
“I’m always out on the road, so I’m always getting into it with the drivers, which is to Tomahawk,” he said. “It’s not for the people. It’s for the trees and, you know, the vehicles.”
After his Friday morning, Palacios left the restaurant on his bicycle, but was arrested by police near Ludlow Street.
Manhattan prosecutors said he was arrested late Friday on charges of criminal mischief and weapon possession and was released without bail. None of the charges against him were eligible for bail under the state’s controversial bail reform laws.
Palacios, asked by ABC if he wanted the three McDonald’s patrons who had allegedly attacked him earlier, said he didn’t think it was necessary.
“You don’t have to be in jail for lessons,” he said. “I hope the fear they felt that night is enough to never attack anyone again.”
Additional reporting by Reuven Fenton