Laying in the hospital bed with bandages still covering his head and legs on Wednesday, the victim of a vicious hatchet attack broke down as he watched the surveillance footage from the bank where he went to deposit a check Sunday night.
Miguel Solorzano, 50, had just gotten off his shift cooking meals at a luxury getaway on Governor’s Island and went to deposit his check at a Chase Bank ATM on Broadway in Manhattan’s Financial District when a suspect started swinging a hatchet at him.
He said he is still having trouble processing the horrifying experience as he recovers at Bellevue Hospital from slashes to his face and leg.
‘He didn’t even rob me,’ Solorzano told the New York Daily News in Spanish. ‘He took nothing. Nothing. He was crazy.’
Police arrested 37-year-old Aaron Garcia in the attack late Tuesday night, when they found him smashing car and storefront windows with a hammer.
He was charged with assault and attempted murder in the attack at the Chase Bank ATM Sunday night.
He was transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he is still recovering
Authorities said on Wednesday that Garcia is already wanted by Yonkers Police, who have an active arrest warrant out on him for a February 15 assault, and four active bench warrants for failure to appear in court.
He had three prior arrests in 2020 stemming from charges of harassment, aggravated harassment, stalking and criminal contempt, Yonkers police said.
A close relative, who asked not to be named, said Garcia had previously served in the Army, and was not the same after his return from deployment to Iraq, the New York Daily News reported.
‘He was a little off-center. He was in combat. All he would say is “I saw dead bodies,”‘ the relative told the outlet.
Video captured the shocking moment Queens man Miguel Solorazano, 50, is slashed with a hatchet while using an ATM at a Chase Bank in downtown Manhattan at 5.30pm Sunday. It begins with the attacker walking into the ATM room with the hatchet in hand
The attacker then suddenly walks up behind Solorzano and begins swinging his weapon in the violent attack
The assailant starts with slashes to the back of the surprised victim’s knees
Solorzano quickly turns to face his attacker, and tries to fend him off using his backpack
Surveillance footage of the incident shows Solorzano at the ATM at around 5.20 pm, when the suspect – later identified by police as Garcia – pulled out a hatchet from a dark bag and walks up behind him.
Garcia, of Yonkers, then repeatedly hits Solorzano with the hatchet as the victim desperately tries to defend himself.
Once the assailant is finished attacking Solorzano, he proceeds to smash the ATM screens before walking away, but not before leaving the hatchet and his backpack behind, police said.
Solorzano said he had noticed Garcia – an Iraq War veteran who has reportedly struggled with mental illness – sitting outside the bank when he entered, but did not pay him any attention.
‘I saw him,’ he told the Daily News. ‘I didn’t know, I didn’t know.
‘I went to put the check in – one check,’ he recalled. ‘I was going to get more money, but the man hit me.’
‘It was so bloody,’ Solorzano said. ‘He hit me so many times, like this,’ he said, as he held up his arms to show how he tried to fight off the attacker.
‘There were a lot of people in the street,’ he recounted. ‘I yelled “Help, help, help!” Another person talked to the police and another doctor came.’
Photos obtained by DailyMail.com of the aftermath of the incident show Solorzano with blood streaming down his face and staining his previously white shirt red.
Authorities on the scene could be seen wrapping his head in bandages and loading him onto a stretcher, as he appears to try to tell police what had happened.
Soon, the backpack is ripped away, as the attacker continues to slash him with the weapon
Terrified and bloodied, the Queens resident desperately tries to grab the weapon away from his attacker
Solorzano, who suffered three slash wounds to the head falls to the ground several times as he fights for his life
Eventually, Solorazano, severely bloodied, flees, and his attacker does not follow. Police say they have the charged Garcia with assault and attempted murder in connection to the attack
After Solorzana been driven off, the attacker proceeds to smash the ATM screens one by one before walking away. He was caught Tuesday night
Solorzano, who lives in Corona, suffered three slash wounds to the head and another to his right leg, New York City police officials reported.
He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he remains after undergoing two surgeries.
He said he has been feeling better every day since the incident, but the Daily News reports, he still seemed to be in a great deal of pain, and his friend, Carlos, said he wasn’t himself yet.
‘He’s not OK,’ Carlos said. ‘He has some problems speaking and hearing.’
‘He works a lot,’ Carlos added. ‘He’s very hardworking – doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke.’
Solorzano said he moved to the United States from Mexico 12 years ago to earn money for his children’s education. He said he speaks to them every day and was looking forward to his wife coming to visit once he was feeling better.
‘The wife, she’s not well,’ Carlos said, adding her response to the news of the attack ‘was terrible.’
Solorzano remains in stable condition, police said.
City police officers responded to the scene Sunday night, speaking to Solorzano who sat bleeding on the sidewalk outside of the bank
Authorities wrapped Solorzano’s head in bandages as blood dripped down his face
They bandaged him up and put him in a stretcher
New York City police have charged Aaron Garcia, 37, of Yonkers with attempted murder and assault in connection to a Sunday evening hatchet attack caught on video at a bank in lower Manhattan. He is pictured in previous mugshot.
Meanwhile, Garcia, was arrested at around 9.20pm Tuesday in Chelsea, where police said he went on a rampage starting at around 8pm.
As he walked past Elmo’s restaurant on 7th Avenue near 20th Street, he allegedly ran into a 54-year-old man, and raised the hammer as if to hit him, but ran off, the New York Daily News reported.
Chelsea cops said Garcia then smashed a window at Rebar Chelsea, a gay bar on 7th Avenue and West 19th Street and a nearby bus stop before he was finally apprehended around the corner, according to the outlet.
Garcia is also suspected of another assault in Lower Manhattan earlier this month, when he allegedly kicked someone on South Street on August 3, around 6.20pm, the New York Post reported.
Earlier that day at around noon, he is alleged to have pointed a knife at a bystander on Pine Street, who had yelled at him for urinating in public.
Police officials said Garcia was arrested after being held at Bellevue Hospital to undergo psychiatric evaluation Wednesday.
‘This can’t be true,’ a relative told the Daily News. ‘If you knew what kind of people we are, you would understand why I’m reacting this way.’
‘I can’t imagine he’s gone that far. Nobody told us anything . . . I can’t imagine that would be linked to us. I don’t understand.’
Chase released a statement on the incident, saying it had assisted with the investigation.
‘We shared the video of this senseless attack with police and continue to work with them on their investigation,’ a spokeswoman said.
‘We’ve reached out to our customer and his family, and share their hopes for continued recovery.’
The smashed ATMs (pictured) seen in the aftermath of the brutal attack
During a recent ATM visit at a Lower Manhattan Chase bank, a 51-year-old man was brutally attacked by a hatchet-wielding lunatic, surveillance footage shows
Crime rates throughout New York City have been increasing over last year
The attack comes amid a growing crime wave in the Big Apple, with more and more assaults happening in broad daylight.
On Friday, an aspiring actor who once appeared as an extra on Law & Order was shot dead in a Bronx deli.
Jayquan Lewis, 21, was standing at the cashier counter at BH gourmet Deli in Fordham at 4pm when another man collapsed to the floor, in a 14-second clip published by the New York Post.
Another person standing next to Lewis at the counter on his phone is seen fleeing out of frame.
After fatally shooting Lewis the gunman appears to casually walk out of the deli.
Lewis was shot three times in the chest, three times in the arm and one time in the stomach. He was pronounced dead at St Barnabas Hospital.
Jayquan Lewis, 21, was shot point-blank inside a Bronx deli just after 4pm Friday
Police are still looking for the killer, whose motive is unknown.
And just one week before, two people died with one victim severely injured in two separate but ‘likely connected’ shootings in Brooklyn.
The gunman shot three men sitting in a car that the NYPD said was damaged in a car accident on August 8 around 12.30am, and then opened fire at a party of 100 to 150 people at an event space down the block.
Two of the men in the car died – Bronx resident Nicholas Palmer and Queens resident Novada Bailey, both 36. A third unidentified man was critically injured.
At least two other people were also shot and injured during the incident, with one person rushed to the hospital and another driving himself to a hospital about 24 miles away in Westchester County.
According to NYPD data, felony assaults are up 5.3 percent from last year, as of August 15, with misdemeanor assaults up 2.1 percent.
Police investigated the scene at B.H. Gourmet Deli on Friday, where Lewis was fatally shot
One of the five shooting victims was taken into an ambulance on August 7
Murders have also increased, from 275 reported during the same time frame in 2020 to 277 reported thus far in 2021.
There have also been 10.7 percent more shooting incidents, with 7 percent more victims.
And grand larcenies have also increased 1.6 percent, with grand larcenies from automobiles skyrocketing 20.2 percent.
Rapes have increased 8.6 percent and hate crimes have nearly doubled.