Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank R James has been arrested and charged with a federal terrorism offense, law enforcement officials said Wednesday afternoon.
James, 62, has been accused of Tuesday morning’s gruesome attack that left 10 people with gunshot wounds on a Brooklyn subway.
Video footage of his arrest shared to social media shows cops in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan leading him to an NYPD car. A Crime Stoppers tip submitted to police claimed James was at a McDonalds several blocks away from where he was finally apprehended.
James will be charged with a federal crime for allegedly carrying out a terrorist act on mass transit, in the Tuesday attack in which five people were left in critical condition with gunshot wounds. A total of 29 people went to area hospitals to be treated for various injuries following the shooting.
New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell spoke about the ‘appalling crime’ during a press conference held shortly after his arrest.
She thanked the hundreds of NYPD officers who worked ‘doggedly’ for the past 30 hours and were able to deliver James’ arrest.
‘We were able to shrink his world quickly. There was nowhere left for him to run,’ Sewell said.
The charge against him carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
‘My fellow New Yorkers, we got him,’ New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who is in quarantine following a positive Covid-19 test, said during the live stream.
Officials also shared that James had a criminal history, including nine prior arrests in New York, mostly for misdemeanor offenses, and three arrests in New Jersey.
Over the past few months James has posted videos to YouTube of himself ranting about racism and violence in America, as well as his experience receiving mental health care in New York City. In one video he criticized Adams’ policies on homelessness, public safety and subway safety.
Many of the videos feature him rambling and using hateful language to describe people of different societal and racial groups. In a video posted Monday, he said he had experienced the desire to kill people, but didn’t want to go to jail.
The gunman set off smoke canisters in the subway tunnel between 59th Street and 36th Street before he began firing his 9 mm handgun, releasing a total of 33 shots.
While the shooter fled the chaotic scene, he left behind numerous clues, including the gun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke canisters, a credit card and the key to the U-Haul van found three blocks from the incident.
Federal investigators determined the gun used in the shooting was purchased by James at a licensed firearms dealer in Ohio in 2011.
Police were able to link all of the items found at the scene to James, and began searching for him Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, he was upgraded from a person of interest to a suspect in the shooting.
Detectives believe James entered the subway at the Kings Highway station, near where they discovered his rented van. Surveillance footage shows him attempting to swipe his MetroCard at approximately 6.15am, two hours before launching his attack on commuters.
The footage, obtained by NBC 4 New York, appears to show James at the Kings Highway station early Tuesday morning, wearing an orange MTA construction-style jacket and a yellow hard hat. With him are a duffle bag and a rolling suit case.
The Brooklyn subway station where passengers fled the smoke-filled train was open and operating as usual less than 24 hours after the attack.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear and the incident isn’t being investigated as an act of terrorism, officials said.
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