Brooklyn subway shooter Frank R. James in court

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Frank R. James, the man wanted in the Brooklyn subway shooting, faces charges in federal court Thursday.

James, 62, is the man who authorities said donned a gas mask, dropped a smoke bomb and opened fire on a crowded Brooklyn subway on Tuesday morning.

He was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said James was spotted by passers-by in the East Village area of ​​St. Marks Place and First Avenue.

Among the calls that Crime Stoppers received was one person claiming to be the suspect.

According to police sources, James called the NYPD and told them he was the man the police were looking for and that he wanted to turn himself in.

“I think you’re looking for me,” the caller reportedly said. “I see my picture all over the news and I’ll be near this McDonalds.”

They say he gave a name and a description of his clothes. He reportedly told police his phone was broken and he will either charge his phone at McDonald’s or stand outside when police arrive.

By the time police responded, he had exited the McDonald’s on East 6th Street and First Avenue.

When officers couldn’t find him at the restaurant, they drove around the neighborhood looking for him. According to police sources, Good Samaritans told police they thought the suspect was around the corner.

James was then seen standing at a kiosk charging his phone. He was arrested without incident at St. Mark’s Place and First Avenue and taken to the 9th Precinct.

“Dear New Yorkers, we have him,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “We got him.”

RELATED | Frank R. James: What we know about the suspect on the Brooklyn subway

James is charged under a federal law prohibiting terrorist and other violent attacks on mass transit systems. The federal government will also charge him with crossing state lines.

We hope this arrest brings some comfort to the victims and to the people of New York City,” Sewell said. “We have used all the resources at our disposal to collect and process important evidence directly linking Mr. James to the shooting. We were able to quickly shrink his world. He had nowhere to run from.”

Watch the full special report on James’ arrest here:

Officials say the investigation is ongoing and they are urging anyone with additional information to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). .

James faces a life sentence if convicted in the attack that left at least 29 people dead or otherwise injured, shaking a city already troubled by a sharp rise in crime.

Officials said any possible motive remains unclear, but witnesses said the lone gunman was seen mumbling to himself while wearing a safety vest, before donning the gas mask and removing a canister from his pocket, which then contained the car filled with smoke. Then he started shooting.

Ten people were hit by bullets, while others were either scraped or injured in the ensuing chaos.

None of the injuries were listed as life-threatening, and authorities said a magazine jammed in the gun may have saved lives.

After the shooting, NYPD detective chief James Essig said James boarded an R train that pulled into the station and went one station before getting off at the 25th Street station. Afterwards, James was spotted again just under an hour later at a Park Slope subway station before disappearing from view.

Authorities identified James as a person of interest Tuesday night, but on Wednesday, after investigations linked James to the crime in a variety of ways, Mayor Eric Adams said he was the suspect and a wanted fugitive.

That finding came overnight after more than 18 hours of investigation that included video, cellphone data and witness interviews.

“There was a clear desire to create terror,” Adams said. “If you bring in a smoke bomb, or would you bring in a semi-automatic gun with a gas mask on, and in a very methodical way…hurt innocent New Yorkers, that’s terror.”

RELATED | The Brooklyn subway shooting has fueled fears about public transit safety

While the cameras at the station were down, police officers were able to snap a picture of the suspect from a bystander’s cellphone video. The NYPD then found a U-Haul van on Kings Highway in Gravesend, which they believe drove James from Philadelphia to New York City on Monday.

They said a pillow inside suggested he may have slept there, and they believe he hacked into the system at a nearby subway station.

The keys to that van were found in the gunman’s belongings left at the subway station, NYPD detective chief James Essig said.

Also recovered at the scene were a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, three extended magazines, a hatchet, gasoline, four smoke grenades (two detonated and two undetonated) and a bag of consumer-grade firecrackers, and a credit card authority used to help the U- to rent. The gun was purchased from a licensed Ohio pawn shop in 2011, the ATF found.

The gun and purchase of a gas mask on eBay are among the pieces of evidence that turned James from a person of interest to a suspect, sources said.

Investigators also felt more comfortable naming James a suspect after re-interviewing witnesses who initially gave a description of the shooter’s height that didn’t fit James’ 6-foot-2 height.

Phantom Fireworks confirmed in a statement that James purchased products in Wisconsin that are believed to have been left at the 36th Street subway station.

Authorities have discovered no significant felony arrests in James’ criminal history, only a number of misdemeanor charges. But James was known to the NYPD with a criminal record spanning six years, 1992 to 1998, with nine prior arrests.

RELATED | Witnesses describe chaotic scene after New York subway shooting

Obscene social media posts from James seem highly critical of the mayor for his homelessness policies, including videos full of racist and sexist slurs and rambling rants about Adam’s crackdown on people living on the subway.

Mayor Adams appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday and said officials are considering deploying state-of-the-art metal detectors on the city’s subway system.

“It’s not the traditional metal detectors you see in airports,” Adams said. “The technology is so advanced. If you think about it, we haven’t progressed with the technology. Cities… when it comes to better protecting citizens, I’m open to all technologies.”

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Dais Johnston

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