Accused Subway Shooter Frank James Held Without Bail After Arraignment - Rolling Stone
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Accused Subway Shooter Held Without Bail Following First Court Appearance

James was arrested after an attack during the morning rush hour commute

Frank JamesFrank James

Suspect Frank James is escorted out of the 9th Precinct by police after being arrested for his connection to the mass shooting at the 36 St subway station on April 13, 2022 in New York City.

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Accused subway shooter Frank Robert James made his first court appearance Thursday in Brooklyn federal court. He did not enter a plea and the judge determined he’d be held without bail. James was arrested Wednesday afternoon after an attack during the Tuesday morning commute on a Subway train in Brooklyn that left 16 people injured, 10 from gunshot wounds. 

United States Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann asked James if he understood the charge he faces — terrorist attacks or other violence against a mass transportation system — and James replied in the affirmative. The judge agreed to the government’s request to hold James, 62, without bail, although she said she would consider a bail request by the defense in the future. Speaking for the prosecution, Sara Winik said the government had requested his permanent detention because of the nature of James’ alleged crime. “The defendant terrifyingly opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, interrupting their morning commutes,” she said, adding that the act had been “pre-meditated, carefully planned, and caused terror” across the city. 

According to a complaint filed Wednesday by federal authorities, James used a dangerous weapon “with the intent to cause death and serious bodily injury to one or more persons on a terminal, structure, track, and facility used in the operation of a mass transportation vehicle,” and that he traveled from Philadelphia, crossing state lines to commit the offense.

The complaint offers a rough timeline of James’ movements before and after the attacks: The afternoon of April 11, authorities allege, James rented a white Chevrolet cargo van from U-Haul in Philadelphia. A little after 4:00 am the next morning, New York City Police Department video surveillance cameras captured the van as it crossed the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn. Just after 6:00 am, a surveillance camera recorded a man in a yellow hard hat and orange vest leaving the van parked on a Brooklyn street, not far from a Subway entrance to the N line. He had two bags with him.

Around 8:30 am, passengers from an N train in the burrough’s Sunset Park neighborhood began reporting the attack to police. “The riders reported that they had heard multiple gunshots and explosions on the train and that the car was filled with smoke,” the complaint said. Passengers told responding officers that the attacker had set off one or more “smoke-emitting devices” before firing a gun multiple times in the subway car. Some said he wore a gas mask or other “protective devices.” Others observed he appeared to have been wearing a construction worker’s vest.

Shortly after the 911 calls, surveillance video showed a man fitting James’ description, leaving the subway station a stop away from where the attacks had occurred. He was dressed in black, his bald head exposed.

Officials recovered an orange vest they believe James discarded, which contained a receipt for a storage unit registered to James in Philadelphia. In the storage unit, investigators found targets, a pistol barrel that allows for a silencer to be attached, and ammunition — including for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. In James’ Philadelphia apartment, authorities found an empty magazine for a Glock handgun, a taser, a high-capacity rifle magazine, and a blue smoke canister.

At the hearing, James’ defense attorneys requested a psychiatric evaluation as medical treatment, not a competency evaluation, they specified. They also requested that he be provided magnesium tablets in jail, as he takes the supplement to treat leg cramps.

In This Article: Frank James, subway shooting


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