Pregnant victim of Brooklyn subway shooting recalls ‘death trap’

The pregnant woman, who was injured when a maniac terrorized the Straphangers in Brooklyn during a morning rush hour on Tuesday, described the chaotic scene as a “death trap” and “an absolute nightmare.”

The 28-year-old – a medical clinician working in downtown Brooklyn who asked to be identified by only her first name, Chelsea – is said to have been initially shot in the leg but was actually kicked during the chaos that ensued N train bound for Manhattan around 8:30 am

“I couldn’t sleep,” Chelsea told the Post in an exclusive phone interview. “Every time I close my eyes, it’s all I can see, it’s all I can think about.”

“It’s an absolute nightmare. It’s a scary thing to go through under any circumstances – being pregnant [makes me even] more vulnerable… We’re all just trying to get somewhere.”

“Nobody should have to experience that,” she added. “The worst thing is that there is nowhere to walk. It’s a death trap. None of the doors open.”

Chelsea told the Post she was behind schedule Tuesday morning after taking her 7-year-old daughter to school and boarded an R train at 95th Street in Bay Ridge around 8:10 a.m

Seven minutes later, she boarded an N train at 59th Street.

The man wanted in connection with the attack, Frank R. James, 62, was initially named as a person of interest but has since been classified as a suspect.
The man wanted in connection with the attack, Frank R. James, 62, was initially named as a person of interest but has since been classified as a suspect.

“I got in and said, ‘What are the odds? There’s a seat,'” Chelsea said. “So I sat down, put on my headphones and started listening to music.”

“I’m preparing for the five minutes it takes me to get from 59th Street to Atlantic Avenue,” she said. “And the train doors closed, and it wasn’t even 15 seconds — I’d say we barely pulled out of the station and [someone] yelled – I don’t know if it was like that [the suspect] or someone else screaming, ‘Oh, s—!’ It was a scream, and it was louder than my music.”

“I turn my head,” she said through tears. “I turn my head and see he’s got these smoke canisters. He opened it and the smoke poured out of the canisters. I thought it was someone pranking or doing something r——d — I never expected it to be what it actually was. The smoke was just starting to fill the car. Everyone started screaming and yelling.”

While all of this was happening, Chelsea said, the train stalled between the 59th and 36th Street stations “because, in typical MTA fashion, there’s a delay for some reason.”

Get the latest updates on the Brooklyn subway shooting with live coverage from The Post.

“Everyone’s screaming, running to the other car and the door won’t open, and we banged on the door so people in the other car would open the door for us,” she said. “Smoke filled [the car] and … he just fired the shots.”

Some wounded straphangers shouted, “I’m hit!” While others desperately tried to make sure their fellow commuters protected themselves, Chelsea recalled.

“Cover your heads! Cover your chest! Take cover!” They cried, according to Chelsea.

A bag full of fireworks was recovered from the scene at the Brooklyn subway station where several people were injured in a shooting and explosion on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
A bag full of fireworks was recovered at the Brooklyn subway station, where several people were injured in the April 12, 2022 shooting.

“Then there was a moment, a pause, and we don’t know if his gun jammed at that moment,” she said. “I can’t tell you how long that took. It felt like a lifetime. And all while we’re stuck between stations.”

Chelsea said she finally saw an opening under one of the seats in the car but couldn’t put her whole body through it.

“People tried to help me,” she says. “One guy, I don’t know who he is, he was trying to help me – everyone else was panicking. And I scream, ‘I’m pregnant!’”

“You can’t be mad — everyone’s trying to survive,” she said. “You mustn’t be angry. It’s pure chaos. It’s absolutely awful. i fell down [on] my knee twice. It’s absolutely awful.”

As soon as the doors opened, straphangers frantically ran off the train, Chelsea said.

The pregnant victim called the insane scene a “death trap.”
Facebook/Poor Armenian

“I missed my shoe,” she said. “I have severe OCD and even in the midst of the chaos – I couldn’t find my shoe – honestly it was the most traumatic thing.”

“I’m covered in blood all over,” she said. “I didn’t know I was pregnant, whether it was from me or someone else.”

Chelsea suffered a knee injury and was treated at Kings County Hospital Center, police sources said.

Throughout the chaos, Chelsea said she kept thinking about her daughter — and praying for a chance to see her again.

“I said, ‘God, I have to go home to my baby,'” she said. “I was only thinking about my child the whole time.”

Chelsea said she would like additional security measures in the city’s tube system – including a greater police presence and metal detectors in the stations – but she’s not sure either of those options would have made a difference on Tuesday.

“I honestly wish – and I don’t know if that’s a possibility for us – more police on every single station,” she said. “I think that would make us a lot safer, especially because people get on the subway with all sorts of things.”

The incident left 29 people injured.
The incident left 29 people injured.
Will B Wylde via AP

“In a way we need more police, but let’s say someone bypasses this – no matter what, you’re trapped in this train car,” Chelsea added. “There is no emergency exit. And if the train is stuck underground, which we all know happens regularly, what will the conductors realistically do with an active gunner? Call the station? You’re just dead.”

“Listen, if we could have metal decorators for people to go through and get checked, but can you look for the things this guy had yesterday?” she asked. “Possibly open your bag.”

“This is a reiteration of the fact that we live in such a big city that New York City is always a destination for these things,” she said.

Mayor Eric Adams vowed to double the number of NYPD officers on the subway system after the bloodshed.

A total of 29 straphangers were injured during the bloodbath – 10 of them were shot.

Among those shot were three women between the ages of 41 and 49 and seven men between the ages of 15 and 41, the NYPD said on Wednesday morning.

Emergency personnel gather at the entrance of a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. A gunman filled a rush-hour subway train with smoke and shot dead several people on Tuesday, wounding commuters on a platform bleeding others ran away screaming, authorities said.
Emergency responders gather near the scene of the Brooklyn subway shooting.
John Minchillo/AP

Children and youth ages 12, 13, 16 and 18 were also injured in the riot, Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters Tuesday night from Maimonides Medical Center, where many of the victims were treated.

The man wanted in connection with the brutal attack, Frank R. James, 62, was initially named as a person of interest but was reclassified as a suspect on Wednesday, officials said.

The improvement in James’ status was “based on new information that became available to the team,” Adams told WNYC radio. Pregnant victim of Brooklyn subway shooting recalls ‘death trap’


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