Custodian Who Clashed With Pro-Hamas Agitator at Columbia Afraid To Return to Work, Feels ‘Abandoned’ By University

The Columbia University custodian photographed clashing with a well-heeled pro-Hamas demonstrator, says he’s now afraid to go back to work and feels “abandoned” by the university.

Mario Torres, 45, told the free Press in an exclusive interview that he was “freaking out” when the terror-supporting mob stormed the building, multiplying “like Gremlins.”

“They just multiplied and multiplied,” he said.

Torres said the seizure of Hamilton Hall appeared to be well planned.

“They came from both sides of the staircases. They came through the elevators and they were just rushing. It was just like, they had a plan,” he said, adding that the masked agitators were entering classrooms with bags, zip ties, duct tape, and gloves.

A now-viral photo shows Torres scuffling with “professional agitator and limousine liberal” James Carlson.

According to the New York Post, Carlson is “the scion of millionaire ad execs” who own a $3.4 million home in Brooklyn. The “longtime anarchist” reportedly owns a $2.3 million townhome himself, “has a model babymama and a stepmom dating John Cougar Mellencamp.”

“I managed to rip his hoodie off of him to expose his face,” the custodian said. He said he later learned that more than 40 percent of the agitators were not students.

The demonstrators, according to Torres,  barricaded the entrances by throwing furniture in front of stairs, doors and even inside elevators, preventing people from entering or leaving.

“I was freaking out,” he told the Free Press. “How was I going to get out? Through the window?”

Torres said he was worried that police would come in and mistake him for one of the agitators.

“They wouldn’t know who we are,” he explained. “It’s just scary knowing you’re locked in with a bunch of crazies.”

Torres said he then noticed that even the cameras were covered.

“How did they get up there? That’s not like ten feet,” he said. “These guys were pros.”

The custodian noted that when he was finally able to leave the building, he didn’t see one public safety officer.

“What’s that all about?” he asked, wondering aloud if they were told to stand down. “But they didn’t tell us that. We had to fight our way out.”

Torres told the Free Press that he has worked at the university for a little over five years and has always felt safe there, until the protesters showed up, and then “it felt uneasy.”

He said the experience has left him worried because the photo of him scuffling with the Trust-Fund anarchist was all over the internet, and bad actors could now find him.

He also told the Free Press that he was afraid to return to work because the protesters remain on campus. “What are they still doing there?!” he exclaimed. “I want no part of it.”

Torres said that he felt “abandoned” by the university.

“The school could have done more to, A, prevent this and, B, to be there for us when we needed them,” the custodian said, adding that after speaking out, he now fears he’ll lose his job.

“We don’t expect to go to work and get swarmed by an angry mob with rope and duct tape and masks and gloves,” Torres explained. “Should there have been more security? Absolutely,” he added.

“Is Columbia going to retaliate and find a reason to fire me? Is someone going to come after me,” he asked. “So I’m taking a big risk doing this, but I think that they failed. They failed us. They should have done more to protect us, and they didn’t,” Torres declared.

A GoFundMe set up to support Torres and provide him with legal counsel has raised more than $30,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

A Columbia spokesperson told The Free Press, “Mr. Torres remains a valued member of the Columbia community. University policies prohibit retaliation against any employee who raises concerns in good faith.”

Meanwhile, the Transport Workers Union, which represents many of the university’s janitors, said it would sue Columbia because “a handful of staffers were allegedly mistreated when Hamilton Hill was seized by protesters,” the NY Post reported.

“This is appalling, disgusting and we are not going to stop until we figure out every means of legal recourse,” the union’s president, John Samuelsen said Tuesday.

“Frankly, Columbia cannot be relied upon to protect their blue-collar workers.”

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.