Graphic footage shows the disturbing moment Michael Palacios launched into a frightening axe-wielding rampage across the Delancey Street restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The 31-year-old Bronx man is seen brazenly swinging a small axe at customers, shattering panes of glass and intimidating onlookers before fleeing on his bicycle at around 2.25am on Friday morning, local time.
It followed a heated argument with other men in the store, which quickly turned physical.
After being smacked and punched by three others, Mr Palacios was sent into a rage as he pulled the weapon from his backpack.
The disturbing two-minute video disappeared from TikTok after going viral but it later re-emerged on Twitter, attracting more than 25 million views.
Suspect arrested and charged
It's understood Mr Palacious was arrested following a "five minute" police chase and no victims have come forward to report any injuries.
Mr Palacious has since been released without bail after being charged with criminal mischief, three counts of menacing and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
"Upon arrival of officers, witnesses at the location reported that the suspect got into a physical dispute with three unknown males inside of the location," a spokesperson for the New York City Police Department told NBC News.
"The suspect removed an axe from his backpack and menaced the unknown males. The suspect intentionally caused property damage to the establishment. The individual was taken into custody by responding officers."
Offender speaks out
As rumours swirl about what triggered the terrifying frenzy, Mr Palacios has addressed the ordeal in a strange post on social media.
Sharing a clip of the news coverage to Instagram, Mr Palacios claimed he was "attacked" by unknown men.
"Just wanted to get a buy-one-get-one-for-$1 with a diet coke ... when this gang attacked me," he wrote, tagging the fast-food giant.
Mr Palacios went on to describe the police chase across the Lower East Side, claiming officers told him it was "fun".
He added that police took him to the hospital to treat a dislocated shoulder before taking him to jail.
"Some of you want me to go to jail? Already did! Haha. So have a great day," he wrote.
Mr Palacios also appeared to gloat about how widely seen the incident has become.
"Btw I came out the precinct and the cops gave me props. Dude you went viral!"
McDonald's said the safety of its customers and crew is always "top priority".
"We are shocked by these acts of violence committed in our restaurant, and we are co-operating fully with the authorities in their investigation," McDonald's restaurant owner-operator Paul Hendel told NBC's Today in a statement.
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