Frank R. James, Suspect in NYC Subway Shooting, Arrested - Rolling Stone
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Frank R. James, Suspect in NYC Subway Shooting, Arrested

“We got him,” Mayor Eric Adams said of suspect in subway shooting

Police stand outside the scene of a shooting at the 36th Street subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, April 12, 2022. Police reported that 10 people were shot, 29 people were injured and several undetonated devices were found after a gunman opened fire inside a Brooklyn subway station Tuesday morning, with the suspect still at large. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)Police stand outside the scene of a shooting at the 36th Street subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, April 12, 2022. Police reported that 10 people were shot, 29 people were injured and several undetonated devices were found after a gunman opened fire inside a Brooklyn subway station Tuesday morning, with the suspect still at large. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Police stand outside the scene of a shooting at the 36th Street subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, April 12, 2022. Police reported that 10 people were shot, 29 people were injured and several undetonated devices were found after a gunman opened fire inside a Brooklyn subway station Tuesday morning, with the suspect still at large. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Sipa USA via AP

Police have apprehended a Frank R. James, the 62-year-old who was named a suspect in the April 12 shooting at a New York City subway that left at least 16 people injured, 10 from gunshot wounds.

Law enforcement officials first told CNN Wednesday that James had been arrested. ABC News reports that James was apprehended near St. Marks Place and First Avenue in the East Village section of Manhattan after people in the area alerted authorities that James was seen walking around in the area. Police took James into custody at 1:42 p.m. without incident and taken to New York City’s 9th Precinct.

“We got him,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference Wednesday announcing James’ arrest. At the press conference, authorities cited a tip to NYPD’s Crime Stoppers line that led to James’ arrest; the Associated Press later reported that James himself placed that call to the NYPD, telling authorities to come get him at a McDonald’s restaurant in the East Village. By the time police arrived, James had left the McDonald’s but was soon found nearby and apprehended.

NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell tweeted, “Frank Robert James had nowhere else to run or hide — and is now in NYPD custody. The work of our detectives is second to none and the dedication of our patrol officers is never ending.”

“Yesterday was a dark day for all of us. But the bright spots of the incredible heroism of our fellow New Yorkers helping each other in a time of crisis, the quick response by our first responders, and the hard work by all of our law enforcement partners that has been ongoing truly shines bright,” United States Attorney Breon Peace of the Eastern District of New York said in a statement Wednesday.

“Today Frank James has been charged by complaint in Brooklyn Federal Court with one count of violating 18 U.S.C. 1992(a)(7), which prohibits terrorist and other violent attacks against mass transportation systems. Once apprehended, and if convicted, he will face a sentence of up to life imprisonment.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also detailed the evidence against James in an affidavit, revealing that a bank card with James’ name, a Glock firearm registered to James, and a U-Haul key for a vehicle rented by James were among the items that the suspect left in one of the bags that were recovered at the shooting scene.

 

James, who had addresses in both Wisconsin and Philadelphia, was a prolific social media user, regularly uploading lengthy, often racist rants to YouTube and Facebook. The videos that James appeared to upload touched on an array of topics and included such titles as “why we need more racial profiling,” “should the black woman be forcibly sterilized,” and “TO KILL OR NOT TO KILL.” 

In a video dated March 2, James even used a news segment on recent subway attacks to hammer New York City Mayor Eric Adams and his policies against crime and homelessness, ostensibly implying that his struggles are the direct result of the failures of NYC social services. After railing against various social services groups — while often using homophobic and anti-Semitic language — James mocked Adams’ subway safety plan, saying, “He can’t stop no fucking crime in no subways… With all these police — I’d still get off.”

The shooting happened the morning of April 12 as a Manhattan-bound N train was between the 59th and 36th Street stops around the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park. When the train pulled up at 36th street, victims poured onto the platform as smoke billowed out of the train car. Police say James released a smoke canister before opening fire.

One NYPD source told Rolling Stone that police error may have allowed James to flee the station afterwards: The local deputy captain of a Brooklyn South patrol reportedly did not freeze all trains in and out of the 36th Street station, allowing James to get away. The NYPD, however, rebuffed this claim, saying, “This statement is factually inaccurate… The victims on the train relied on the subway moving to the next stop to get to safety, and seek help.”

Efforts to apprehend James were further hampered by the fact that at least one security camera at the 36th Street subway station, which might have captured the scene, was not working. One witness, Andrew Hinderaker, a photo editor at The New York Times, additionally noted that during the panic at the station, an officer had to ask subway passengers to call 911 because his radio wasn’t working. 

The attack came amid a rise in violent crimes on the subways, although these incidents have notably coincided with rising NYPD presence in subway stations. At the start of the year, under the direction of Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, over 1,000 additional cops were deployed to patrol the subways, largely as part of a plan to stop unhoused people from sleeping in stations and on trains. Houseless people, however, have been responsible for very few of the recent violent crimes on the subway. 

In This Article: Arrest, New York City

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