‘He was hunting’: NYC man describes scaring off hatchet suspect before ATM attack

A Manhattan man on Thursday described coming face-to-face with the alleged ATM hatchet attacker — and scaring him off shortly before the horrifying, unprovoked attack that seriously injured another bank customer.

Larry Oquendo, who works for an antique dealer, said he was preparing to meet a friend to go bicycling on Staten Island when he popped into the Chase branch at 42 Broadway in the Financial District to grab some cash on Sunday afternoon.

Oquendo said he immediately spotted Aaron Garcia, 37, sitting on a ledge over a radiator to the right of the door but mistook him for a fellow customer or a security guard.

After completing a withdrawal and pocketing the money, Oquendo said, “I saw that now he is standing next to where he was sitting at by the door.”

“That’s when I saw the ax at the right side of his leg. He was holding it on the side of his thigh to show me he had it,” Oquendo said.

“He said, ‘I should f—king kill you.'”

But instead of cowering or retreating, Oquendo said, “I walked right at him.”

Larry Oquendo recalls how suspect Aaron Garcia threatened to “f—king kill you,” with his hatchet on his hand.
Georgette Roberts
Surveillance video shows suspect Aaron Garcia with his hatchet before his brutal attack on the 50-year-old Miguel Solorzana.
Surveillance video shows suspect Aaron Garcia with his hatchet before his brutal attack on the 50-year-old Miguel Solorzana.

“I said to him, ‘Do you work here?’” he said.

“I guess he thought I was going to be afraid, be timid, but I walked right at him. I looked at him and he had this look like, uh-oh.”

Garcia allegedly “pushed the metal bar and opened the door gently,” Oquendo said.

“Once he got outside, it was quick steps, it was like, boom, he bolted. He made a right up the block, made another right and he was gone,” Oquendo said.

Aaron Garcia the suspect under arrest by the NYPD who allegedly attacked bank customer Miguel Solorzana with a hachet on Sunday at the Chase bank on 42 Broadway, Sunday afternoon. Currently undergoing a Psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue hospital.
Suspect Aaron Garcia was charged with second-degree attempted murder for the attack.

Oquendo said he called 911 and about five NYPD patrol cars arrived within minutes but Garcia was nowhere to be found.

“The detective told me an hour and a half later he attacked someone,” Oquendo said.

“[The detective] said he probably sensed I wasn’t the one, so he left. [The detective] said to me he was hunting, he wanted to hurt somebody and that’s why he came back.”

A criminal complaint filed against Garcia on Thursday included details of Oquendo’s account of the incident, for which Garcia was charged with menacing.

Garcia was also charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault for the hatchet attack on Miguel Solorzano, 50, who remained hospitalized for treatment of gashes to his head and leg.

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