Manhunt Underway in Brooklyn Subway Shooting; Frank R. James has been identified as a person of interest
At least 29 people were shot dead or otherwise injured in the attack, shaking a city already troubled by a sharp rise in crime.
A “mumbling” lone gunman in a reflective vest and gas mask dropped smoke bombs into a Brooklyn subway car and then began firing at the height of the morning stampede, with the manhunt continuing into the evening as new details come in of the probe appeared.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening. Authorities said a magazine became jammed in the gun, which may have saved lives.
On Tuesday night, authorities identified 62-year-old Frank R. James as a person of interest in the investigation and released a photo at an NYPD briefing conducted by Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
ALSO READ | Investigations: Police identify Frank R. James as a person of interest in the Brooklyn subway shooting
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 located a U-Haul van on Kings Highway in Gravesend believed to be connected to the shooting.
James rented this subway haul in Philadelphia, and the keys to that van were found in the shooter’s belongings left in the subway station, NYPD detective chief James Essig said. However, he added that investigators don’t know if James has any connection to the subway shootings. The U-Haul has since been towed away.
Sewell also announced Tuesday night that additional security was added to Mayor Eric Adams’ details based on social media posts by the person of interest, who appear to be very critical of the mayor over his homelessness policies.
There is a $50,000 reward for arresting James, who police say had addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.
Mayor Adams appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday and said there would be an increased police presence at subway stations across the city in the wake of the incident.
He also said officials are considering using state-of-the-art metal detectors to move forward.
Police say the shooting happened on a Manhattan-bound N train that made an express stop just before 8:30 a.m. and that the suspect muttered to himself before donning a gas mask and removing a canister from a pocket before smoke began to fill the car.
Essig added that between the 59th and 36th Street stations, the suspect opened and threw two smoke grenades to the ground and began firing his semi-automatic weapon. The shooter then unloaded the Glock 33 times.
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. They say the gun wasn’t stolen.
“At this point, we still do not know the suspect’s motivation. This person clearly boarded the train and intended to use force,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at an evening news conference.
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After passengers were dumped onto the platform, any uninjured were told to get back on the train, which then proceeded to the 25th Street station in Greenwood Heights.
“This perpetrator dropped these smoke cans, if that’s it, and shot around and then ran from that point,” said retired NYC detective chief Robert Boyce. “He won’t stay there if there’s smoke there, even if he’s got the filter mask.”
Bullet casings and a pistol with three extended round magazines were recovered on the train and on the platform. One of those magazines got stuck, which probably saved lives.
No arrests were made and schools in the area went to shelter while the search continued. There were tearful reunions as schools were sacked.
Kristin Thorne has more on this aspect:
Mayor Adams practically attended a police briefing Tuesday night and also spoke to Eyewitness News Tuesday night.
Adams, who remains in quarantine due to his COVID diagnosis, posted a video statement on his various social media accounts.
“We pray for all New Yorkers who were injured or affected by today’s attack,” he said. “So far we know we have a variety of injuries, including victims of gunshot wounds… We will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized by a single person. The NYPD is generally looking for the suspect and we will find him.”
Officials confirmed that 10 of the victims, ranging in age from 17 to 50, were shot and five are in critical but stable condition. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.
It is unclear whether the shooter escaped from a train station or into the subway tunnel.
ALSO READ | Witnesses describe chaotic scene after New York subway shooting
Gov. Kathy Hochul called the suspect “cold-hearted and depraved” and warned he was at large and dangerous.
“We won’t say more,” she said. “No more mass shootings. No more life disruptions. No more heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as regular New Yorkers. It has to end and it’s ending now… Everyone involved has one goal and that is to stop the madness of these crimes.”
After the chaos subsided, hospitals reported that a total of 29 patients were being treated for injuries sustained in the shooting.
The vast majority, 21, were taken to NYU Langone-Brooklyn and none of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.
To date, 16 patients have been discharged from NYU. The five remaining patients remain in stable condition.
Five other victims were taken to Maimonides, two of whom are being held overnight for gunshot wounds. The other three victims have already been released.
Speaking outside Maimonides on Tuesday night, Gov. Hochul thanked law enforcement for identifying a person of interest and then spoke about meeting an 18-year-old victim, a student who was on his way to school and is now awaiting surgery.
“He seems fine and in very good spirits as is his mother and grandmother who are there,” Hochul said.
Anthony Johnson has more on this aspect:
Police examined up to four packages that were initially thought to be suspicious but were later determined to be unfounded.
“This morning, commuters in Sunset Park were attacked by a senseless act of violence,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “As always in times of crisis, the Brooklynites witnessed the swift response of our city’s first responders, including the MTA, NYPD and FDNY. I am deeply encouraged to see the Sunset Park community coming together at this time of tragedy – Brooklyn stands with I will continue to work with local authorities and elected officials as more details of the attack are confirmed and the perpetrator is found.
There were also disruptions to the subway on several lines throughout the area.
The D, N, and R trains have all returned to local stops, but continue to skip the 36th Street station. The B and W service remains suspended in both directions. CLICK HERE for the latest MTA service updates.
Lucy Yang has more on transit disruption:
An FBI official says they support NYPD and that it doesn’t appear to be linked to terrorism at the moment but monitors FBI headquarters.
This latest incident comes as New York City has faced a string of shootings and high-profile incidents over the past few months, including on the city’s subways. One of the most shocking was in January when a woman was pushed to death by a stranger in front of a train.
Adams made tackling crime, particularly on the subways, a focus of his early tenure and promised to send more police officers to regularly patrol train stations and platforms.
Notify NYC urges anyone who is unable to reach a potentially affected person to call 311. If you are outside of New York City, please call 212-639-9675.
RELATED | Witnesses describe chaotic scene after New York subway shooting
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https://abc7ny.com/brooklyn-subway-shooting-frank-james-sunset-park-new-york/11743662/ Manhunt Underway in Brooklyn Subway Shooting; Frank R. James has been identified as a person of interest