Police focus on van tenant in Brooklyn subway shooting investigation

Police focus on van tenant in Brooklyn subway shooting investigation

NEW YORK – A gunman wearing a gas mask fired smoke grenades and fired bullets inside a crowded subway train in Brooklyn on Tuesday, injuring at least 10 people. Police were trying to trace the tenant of a van possibly linked to the violence.

Chief of Detectives James Essig said investigators were not sure whether the man, identified as 62-year-old Frank R. James, had any links to the subway attack.

Officers were looking at the man’s explicit social media posts, some of which prompted officials to tighten security for New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Police Commissioner Keichand Sewell called these posts “related”.

The attack turned the morning commute into a frightening scene: a smoky underground train, an attack of at least 33 bullets, riders running through a station and others lying on platforms assisted by blood. people.

Jordan Xavier thought the first popping sound he heard was a textbook falling. Then there was another pop, people started moving toward the front of the car, and they realized there was smoke, he said.

When the train reached the station, the people fled and were taken across the platform to another train. Passengers cried and prayed as they boarded, Javier said.

“I am grateful to be alive,” he said.

The condition of five gunmen was critical, but they were expected to survive. At least a dozen people who survived the gunshot wounds were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

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Sewell said the attack was not being investigated as terrorism, but she was “not ruling out anything.” The shooter’s motive was unknown.

Essig said the gunman sitting behind the second car of the train threw two smoke grenades on the floor, pulled out a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun and began firing. Video of a rider shows a man raising his hand and pointing at something as the sound of five bangs is heard.

Passengers in the smoke-laden car knocked on the door of an adjacent car, trying to escape, Juliana Fonda, a passenger in the adjacent car, told news site Gothamist. Fonda is a broadcast engineer for the public radio station WNYC, the owner of Gothamist.

Investigators believe the shooter’s gun jammed and prevented him from firing further, said two law enforcement officers, who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. Had it.

Essig said police found weapons, extended magazines, a hatchet, detonated and unexploded smoke grenades, a black trash can, a rolling cart, gasoline and the keys to a U-Haul van.

That chief led investigators to James, who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, the detective chief said. Essig said the van was later found empty near a subway station, where investigators determined the gunman had entered the train system.

The rambling, abusive YouTube video posted by James, who is apparently Black, is filled with black nationalist rhetoric, violent language, and bigoted comments, some of them directed at other black people. One, posted on April 11, criticizes crimes against black people and says drastic action is needed to change things.

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New York’s subways are mentioned in several videos, and Adams is a recurring theme.

A February 20 video says the mayor and governor’s plan to address homelessness and safety in New York City’s subway system is “doomed to fail” and refers to himself as a “victim” of the mayor’s mental health program. Is. A video from January 25 criticizes Adams’ plan to end gun violence.

The attack upset a city about a rise in gun crimes and the ever-present threat of terrorism. This made some New Yorkers nervous about riding the nation’s busiest subway system and prompted officials to increase policing at transportation hubs from Philadelphia to Connecticut.

“This person is still on the loose. This person is dangerous,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, warned at an afternoon news conference.

In Menlo, Iowa, President Joe Biden praised “first responders who jumped into action, including civilians, civilians who didn’t hesitate to help their fellow travelers and tried to save them.”

Transit officials said after people exited the train, quick-witted transit staff escorted the passengers across the platform to another train for safety.

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High school student John Batsikaris was riding that second train and initially thought the problem was mundane until the next stop, when he heard screams for medical attention and his train was evacuated.

“I’m definitely shaken up,” said the 15-year-old. “Even though I didn’t see what had happened, I was still scared, because it was a few feet away from me, what happened.”

New York City has suffered several shootings and high-profile bloodsheds in recent months, including on the city’s subways. The most shocking case was in January, when a stranger pushed a woman to death in front of a train.

Adams, a Democrat, a little more than 100 days into his term, has made cracking down on crime — particularly in the subways — an early focus of his administration, pledging to send more police officers to stations and platforms for regular patrols. It was not immediately clear whether any officer was in the police station at the time of firing.

The mayor, who is in isolation after a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday, said in a video statement that the city “will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized by a single person.”


Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Beatrice Dupuy, Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Deepti Hajela, Michelle L. Price and David Porter in New York contributed to this report and Michael Kunzelman from College Park, Maryland.


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