After calling authorities to come get him, the man accused of shooting ten people on a Brooklyn subway train was apprehended and charged with a federal terrorist violation, according to law enforcement sources.
Frank R. James, 62, was apprehended nearly 30 hours after the violence on a rush-hour train that had the entire city on edge.
“We got him, my fellow New Yorkers,” Mayor Eric Adams remarked.
According to Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace, James was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday on a charge of terrorism or other violent actions against mass transit networks, which carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
In recent months, James has railed against racism and violence in the United States, as well as his issues with mental health care in New York City, in videos posted to his YouTube channel, and he has blasted Adams’ policies on mental health and subway safety. However, the motive for the subway attack is unknown, and there’s no evidence that James had any international or domestic affiliations, according to Peace.
As he was escorted to a police car on Wednesday afternoon, James didn’t react to reporters’ shouted questions. He was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn by the federal Bureau of Prisons a few hours later. A message was sent to a lawyer who represents him, requesting comment.
Before receiving a tip on Wednesday, police had requested the public to assist in his search, releasing his name and photo and even sending a mobile alert.
Two law enforcement officials said the tipster was James, who called to say he knew he was sought and that police could find him at a McDonald’s in Manhattan’s East Village district. They talked on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the ongoing probe.
When cops arrived, James was gone, but he was quickly located on a busy corner nearby, according to Chief of Department Kenneth Corey.
Aleksei Korobow, a passer-by, said he saw four police cars speed by, and when he caught up to them, James was handcuffed in front of a mob of onlookers.
“He has nowhere else to run,” stated Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
The arrest happened as the gunshot victims, as well as at least a dozen others who were hurt in the incident, were trying to recover.
Hourari Benkada, a Manhattan hotel cleaning manager who was shot in the leg, told CNN from a hospital bed, “I don’t think I could ever ride a train again.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul paid a hospital visit to victims as young as 12 on Tuesday night. One of the students was on his way to class at Borough of Manhattan Community College when he was hit by a gunshot or shrapnel and required surgery, according to the governor.
Rudy Alfredo Pérez Vásquez, an 18-year-old Guatemalan national, was hospitalized but “out of danger” Wednesday after being hurt in the incident, according to Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry.
In a subway vehicle filled with commuters, James detonated two smoke bombs and fired at least 33 rounds with a 9 mm handgun, according to authorities.
According to a witness report to authorities, as the first smoke bomb went off, a passenger asked what he was doing.
“Oops,” James exclaimed, triggering a second, before brandishing the gun and opening fire, according to Chief of Detectives James Essig.
When the train came to a halt at a station and panicked passengers exited, James reportedly boarded another train — the same one that many others were sent to for safety, according to authorities. He exited at the next station and vanished into the country’s most populous city.
According to authorities and a court complaint, James left multiple clues at the crime scene, including the rifle he bought in Ohio in 2011, ammo magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, gasoline, a bank card in his name, and the key to a U-Haul vehicle he leased Monday in Philadelphia.
A receipt for a Philadelphia storage unit found tucked into an orange workers’ jacket, which he reportedly abandoned on a train platform. According to the complaint, authorities discovered ammo, targets, and a revolver barrel in the storage container and discovered he was there on Monday.
The van was discovered vacant at a metro station where James is believed to have entered the system.
The van arrived from Philadelphia early Tuesday, and a man wearing what seemed to be the same orange jacket exited the car near the station, according to surveillance cameras.
Authorities said James was born in New York but had lately lived in Philadelphia and Milwaukee. A neighbor near the Philadelphia apartment where James spent the last few weeks, Bruce Allen, said the man never spoke to him, even after he moved in.
According to his videos, James has worked in a range of manufacturing and other jobs. Between 1990 and 2007, he was arrested 12 times in New York and New Jersey on offenses ranging from disorderly conduct to possession of burglary tools, according to police, although he has no felony convictions.
His fragmented, expletive-filled films cover a wide range of topics, from current events to his personal narrative to racist remarks about individuals of various origins. James is a black person.
Some of the videos criticize Adams, mental health care that James claims he received in the city years ago, and train conditions. According to the court complaint, he rants about trains full of homeless people in one of his posts.
In another, he criticizes the treatment of African-Americans in the United States, saying, “The message to me is: I should have just gotten a gun and started shooting.”
Less than 24 hours after the incident, the Brooklyn subway station where people fled was open as usual Wednesday morning.
Jude Jacques, who rides the train two blocks from the shooting scene to work as a fire safety director, said he prays every morning but had a specific request on Wednesday.
Jacques added, “I said, ‘God, everything is in your hands.'” “You can imagine why I was antsy. Because it just happened, everyone is terrified.”