NYC Subway Shooter Suspect Arrested, Court Denies Bail

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(Photo: Meredith Goldberg/AP)

On the morning of April 12, 2022 – a mass shooting occurred on a northbound N train on the New York City Subway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. A gunman riding on the train put on a gas mask, threw two smoke grenades, and opened fire. Twenty-nine people were injured, ten from direct gunfire. Twenty-nine people were injured, ten from direct gunfire. Most of the passengers disembarked at the 36th Street station. A day later, 62-year-old Frank R. James was arrested as the suspect.

ABC7 NY News reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Winik told the judge that the 62-year-old James, who was taken into custody Wednesday after being found wandering around the East Village and may have called police on himself, terrified the entire city.

“The defendant, terrifyingly, opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, interrupting their morning commute in a way this city hasn’t seen in more than 20 years,” she said. “The defendant’s attack was premeditated, it was carefully planned, and it caused terror among the victims and our entire city. The defendant’s mere presence outside federal custody presents a serious risk of danger to the community and he should be detained pending trial.”

The judge agreed and denied James bail for the time being. “The complaint speaks for itself,” he said.

The New York Police arrested Frank R. James in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood following a massive effort to find him, releasing his name and issuing cellphone alerts.

New York Police Department Chief Kenneth Corey said police had received a tip that James was in a McDonald’s in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood. Arriving on the scene NYPD Chief said there was no sign of James but police spotted him on a busy block nearby and apprehended a compliant James.

During the attack, James set off smoke grenades in a commuter-packed subway car and then fired at least 33 shots with a 9 mm handgun. Police Chief of Detectives James Essig said police were told that after James opened one of the smoke grenades, a rider asked, “What did you do?”

“Oops,” James said, then went on to brandish his gun and open fire, according to a witness account. 

A dozen people who escaped gunshot wounds had to be treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

As terrified riders fled the attack, James is seen on video footage hopping onto another train — the same one many were steered to for safety, police said. He got out at the next station, disappearing into the nation’s most populous city.

The shooter left behind numerous clues, including the gun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van. That key to the van led investigators to James.

Frank R. James, 62. (Photo: NYPD)

The van was found, unoccupied, near a station where investigators determined the gunman had entered the subway system. No explosives or firearms were found in the van, a law enforcement official who wasn’t authorized to comment on the investigation and did so on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press. Police did find other items, including pillows, suggesting he may have been sleeping or planned to sleep in the van, the official said.

Investigators believe James drove up from Philadelphia and have reviewed surveillance video showing a man matching his physical description coming out of the van on the morning of the attack, the official said. Other video shows James entering a subway station in Brooklyn with a large bag, the official said.

In addition to analysing financial and telephone records connected to James, investigators were reviewing hours of rambling, profanity-filled videos James posted on YouTube and other social media platforms — replete with violent language and bigoted comments, some against other Black people — as they tried to discern a motive.

In one video, posted a day before the attack, James criticises crime against Black people and says drastic action is needed.

“You got kids going in here now taking machine guns and mowing down innocent people,” James says. “It’s not going to get better until we make it better,” he said, adding that he thought things would only change if certain people were “stomped, kicked and tortured” out of their “comfort zone.”

In another video he says, “this nation was born in violence, it’s kept alive by violence or the threat thereof and it’s going to die a violent death. There’s nothing going to stop that.”

Several of James’ videos mention New York’s subways. A February 20 video says the mayor and governor’s plan to address homelessness and safety in the subway system “is doomed for failure” and refers to himself as a “victim” of the city’s mental health programs. A January 25 video criticises Adams’ plan to end gun violence.

James is scheduled to appear in Brooklyn Federal Court later this week according to John Marzulli a public information officer for the US attorney‘s office Easton District of New York. Authorities say James is facing a federal tourism charge an impossible punishment of life in prison.