Zack Tahhan, man who discovered alleged subway shooter Frank James, spoke up

NEW YORK — The man who identified suspected Brooklyn subway gunman Frank R. James on the street and alerted police officers to his presence is speaking out.

Zack Tahhan said James casually walked down the street among unsuspecting New Yorkers in the East Village on Wednesday.

“I see him, he has a bag and he was walking on the sidewalk, he put the bag on the street,” Tahhan said. “People followed him. I told them, ‘Guys, keep your distance from him. Please, this guy is going to do something.’ These people think I’m crazy. Nobody tries to believe me. I told them, ‘Guys, believe me, that’s the guy.’ And I see the police walking from over there. I told the police, ‘This is the guy, he made this problem in Brooklyn, this guy, get him, guys, get him.’ And they catch him, thank God we catch him.”

It’s the eyes and instincts of New Yorkers, rooted in “if you see something, say something,” that helped bring the fugitive into custody.

Following his gut instinct, Tahhan stopped officers patrolling the St. Marks Place and First Avenue area.

Cell phone video shows James, wearing a blue shirt and black baseball cap, being quietly led handcuffed to the squad car. Eyewitnesses say there was no incident when officers initially approached.

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

A citywide manhunt had been underway since Tuesday morning after police said James opened fire on a crowded subway train in Sunset Park during rush hour.

Since then, police had received multiple leads of sightings of the 62-year-old, but it was Wednesday afternoon when Tahhan, who was working on surveillance video at a company in the area, spotted him.

Tahhan said the gunshots on the subway had startled him the previous day and he knew immediately he was looking at the man the police were looking for.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t sleep either,” he said. “I want to try to work, I can’t because that guy got me in trouble when he… maybe (the victims) have kids, maybe a family.”

James was taken into custody without incident and faces federal charges that could see him in prison for the rest of his life.

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

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved. Zack Tahhan, man who discovered alleged subway shooter Frank James, spoke up

Dais Johnston

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