“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Bomb detonation in two, in two minutes,” Malik Sanchez, 19, shouted at a pair of women eating at the restaurant, as shown in a video he posted on 13 February. “I take you with me and I kill all you! I kill all you right now!”
Mr Sanchez, who goes by the name Smooth Sanchez online, has been charged with “conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes,” the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York announced on Wednesday.
“As alleged, Malik Sanchez perpetrated a hoax bomb threat at a Manhattan restaurant that frightened innocent victims, sowed chaos, and diverted precious law enforcement resources,” the office said in a statement. “Today’s arrest makes clear that such conduct will not be tolerated.”
If convicted, Mr Sanchez could face up to five years in prison. He is currently being held without bail as he awaits his trial.
The statement also notes that Mr Sanchez calls himself an “involuntary celibate”, or “incel”. The incel community, which exists primarily online, gained notoriety after the mass shooter Elliot Rodger, a self-described incel, killed six people in Isla Vista, California in 2014.
It is not known whether he has been appointed a lawyer or enter a plea.
Mr Sanchez has praised Mr Rodger in several of his videos.
“I have incel rage!” he yelled at two women in a 7 February video entitled “INCEL ARMY RISE UP.”
“You know what?” he goes on. “Elliot Rodger was good. Elliot Rodger was a good guy.”
In another video, posted on 20 March, Mr Sanchez again invoked Mr Rodger as he berated several women at an outdoor seating area. When some patrons tried to get him to stop, he attacked one of them with pepper spray, according to the US Attorney’s Office. He was then arrested and charged with state-level offenses.
This is not Mr Sanchez’s first time in the news. In October last year, he climbed up New York’s Queensboro Bridge, stopping traffic and triggering a massive police response. NYPD officers finally brought Mr Sanchez down, but not without becoming unwitting stars of his YouTube video, which he live-streamed throughout the incident.
“Guys, I’m not suicidal,” Mr Sanchez yelled down to the cops as they approached him. “I just wanted to take content to the next level, and I was just having fun.”
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