A Mastic man was arrested for making a terroristic threat Tuesday at Tanger Outlets after he told police he had a machete in his backpack and felt like hurting people, Riverhead police said.
Police were called to the Route 58 shopping complex about 12:45 p.m. for reports of a man who was threatening to hurt himself and others, officials said.
Police arrived at the Tanger Outlet II food court and found John Medina, 32, whom police said had a machete in his backpack at the time. Mr. Medina told responding officers he wanted to “hurt others, hurt himself,” police said.
Riverhead Detective Sgt. Joseph Loggia said Mr. Medina voluntarily gave himself up to police and told them he knew what he was feeling was wrong. He never took the machete out of his backpack, Sgt. Loggia said.
“He’s a veteran who has some issues,” the detective said. “He’s definitely struggling.”
He said Mr. Medina, who works at the Levi’s outlet store in the shopping center, contacted an acquaintance and explained he was having disturbed thoughts. The acquaintance then called the police to alert them to Mr. Medina’s condition.
Mr. Medina was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat, a Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, and a misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapons charge, police said.
He was arraigned in Justice Court and is being held at the county jail.
“We are thankful that no one was hurt,” said Janine Nebons, the Riverhead outlet center’s general manager. “The incident is under police investigation. We appreciate your patience while the police investigation is underway.”