A multi-state manhunt is underway for the ‘person of interest’ suspected of unleashing hell on a Brooklyn subway train during Tuesday’s morning commute as a gunman fired more than 20 rounds – leaving 10 riders wounded and 13 others injured in the ensuing chaos – before his automatic weapon jammed.
The NYPD released photos of Frank James, 62, who rented an abandoned U-Haul that is linked to the shooting scene and who has made ‘concerning’ threats against New York City Mayor Eric Adams and railed against the city’s homelessness crisis.
Commuters on the N train Tuesday morning described how a man wearing a construction vest threw a smoke grenade into their subway car when it was in between stations, and then opened fire. Terrified passengers tried to get out into the next carriage, but the door was locked.
When the train pulled into the 36th Street station in Sunset Park, the gunman fled.
James, who rented a U-Haul cargo van in Philadelphia and drove it to Brooklyn, where it was recovered on Tuesday night, is the only person named in connection with the attack so far.
‘We are looking to determine if he has any connection to the train,’ said NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
‘We know Mr James rented that U-Haul truck in Philadelphia.’
The key of the U-Haul van was found at the crime scene in the subway, the official said.
The U-Haul was found five miles from the scene of the shooting.
Keechant Sewell, the NYPD commissioner, said they recovered from the scene a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, extended magazines, a hatchet, gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks and a hobby fuse.
‘We still do not know the suspect’s motivation,’ said Sewell.
Sewell said James made concerning social media posts about homelessness in New York City, and threats to Mayor Eric Adams. Adams’s security was stepped up as a result.
‘This person of interest in today’s subway shooting in Brooklyn has made past comments about @NYCMayor,’ said Adams’s spokesman, Fabien Levy.
‘Out of an abundance of caution, @NYPD will increase Mayor Adams’ security presence until this man has been questioned.’
NYPD are hunting for Frank James, described as a ‘person of interest’ in the Brooklyn subway shooting
A U-Haul cargo van rented by Frank James is pictured being towed away on Tuesday night
The van, with Arizona plates, had been picked up from a U-Haul site in Philadelphia
Keys to the U-Haul cargo van were found at the site of the shooting. The van was rented in Frank James’s name, with his credit card
The cargo van, which was found five miles from the site of the shooting, is pictured being investigated by police
New Yorkers lie on the platform at 36th Street station after falling out of the northbound N train. They were shot on the train by a gunman who unleashed a smoke bomb and then opened fire before fleeing at around 8.30am
A mass shooting and possible explosion have rocked a subway train in New York at rush hour
Horror pictures from the scene showed blood strewn across the carriage during the latest attack to rock the city
Keechant Sewell, the NYPD commissioner, is seen on Tuesday night addressing a press conference. Mayor Eric Adams, who has COVID, spoke via video link
Sewell said that the gunman fired 33 rounds, describing it as a miracle that no one was killed
James posted over 450 videos to YouTube in three years – ranting about racism, the homeless, climate change and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
His unhinged rants are hard to follow, but he references his PTSD and receiving treatment in mental health facilities in the Bronx and New Jersey
The officials said James has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, and they are still investigating whether he has ties to New York.
‘This is Frank James. He is a person of interest in the shooting that took place on the N train in Brooklyn Tuesday morning,’ they tweeted.
BROOKLYN SUBWAY SHOOTING – WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
- Unidentified gunman wearing grey hoodie and green construction vest opened fire on northbound N train at 8.24am
- Police have described Frank James as ‘a person of interest’
- A U-Haul was rented by James in Philadelphia and used in connection with the shooting
- That U-Haul was found five miles from the scene on King’s Highway, Brooklyn
- A credit card found on the scene of the shooting matched the credit card used to rent the U-Haul
- The suspect put on a gas mask then detonated a smoke bomb that was in his bag before firing the first shots
- Panicked commuters tried to flee into the next subway car but the door was locked – they were trapped until the train reached 36th street
- The gunman somehow vanished in the chaos – some fear he may have jumped onto the tracks and entered the subway tunnels
- Police found a .380 handgun and three extended magazines in backpack at the Brooklyn station
- Sixteen people were taken to NYC hospitals – ten were shot, four suffered smoke inhalation and another two were in shock
- NYPD is going door-to-door in Brooklyn asking for information, surveillance camera footage and pictures
- The gunman is known to the FBI, having been on their radar in New Mexico until he was cleared following ‘multiple interviews’ in 2019
- Anyone with information about the shooting or gunman is urged to call 800 577 TIPS
‘Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call at 1-800-577-TIPS.’
Police are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to James’s arrest. The MTA and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 both offered $12,500 each in reward money and the New York City Police Foundation offered $25,000 in reward money to bring the total reward offering to $50,000.
No arrests have been made.
On Tuesday night NYPD published a photo of James taken from his YouTube account, where he posted videos under the name ‘Prophet of Truth88.’
His expletive-filled videos feature him ranting about the state of the world as he sees it; airing his grievances; threatening to ‘kill everything in sight’ and sharing conspiracy theories – such as claiming that the Twin Towers could never have been brought down on 9/11 by planes.
He references psychiatric facilities he has attended in the Bronx and in New Jersey, saying the staff failed to help him and ‘made me more dangerous’.
‘Mr. Mayor, I’m a victim of your mental health program,’ James said in one lengthy video.
‘I’m 63 now full of hate, full of anger, and full of bitterness.’
He also criticized the mayor for not doing more to combat homelessness.
‘Eric Adams, Eric Adams: What are you doing brother? What’s happening with this homeless situation,’ he said while referring to the subway.
‘Every car I went to was loaded with homeless people. It was so bad I couldn’t even stand. I had to keep moving from car to car.’
He continued: ‘He can’t stop no crime in no subways. He may slow it down but he ain’t stopping it.’
‘That means you’d have to have police in every station and that’s just not possible,’ he added.
Police on Tuesday evening said the gunman fired 33 shots.
A federal law enforcement source told Newsweek the suspect was the previously known to the FBI, having been entered into the Guardian Lead system in New Mexico.
The system is the FBI’s way of coordinating information from other law enforcement partners about potential terrorism-related threats and suspicious activity reports.
He was cleared after multiple interviews in 2019.
The federal law enforcement source said that he is believed to have driven to New York from New Mexico.
The FBI has now joined the hunt for him and armed police units are patrolling Brooklyn for any clue of his whereabouts.
NYPD has located the U-Haul believed to have been used in Tuesday morning’s subway shooting abandoned in the street in Brooklyn, five miles from the scene of the crime.
DailyMail.com obtained an alert that was issued to officers telling them that the suspect is connected to a U-Haul with an Arizona license plate AL31408.
Police sources tell DailyMail.com the van was rented in Philadelphia. U-Haul is now helping with the search.
The U-Haul was located late on Tuesday afternoon near Kings Avenue in Brooklyn, but there is still no sign of the suspect.
Police evacuated people from the immediate area after the van’s discovery.
‘Police came for the van and told us to clear the store,’ said the manager of nearby King’s Piano World on Kings Highway.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘Police blocked off the area. People were told not to walk in the area. They told us it was dangerous.’
The rental agreement obtained by CNN shows that the U-Haul reservation was made on April 6, and was scheduled to be picked up on April 11 at 2:01 p.m. ET.
The van was supposed to be rented for two days, according to the reservation.
Sebastien Reyes, U-Haul Vice President of Communications, said: ‘Law enforcement has alerted us to its search for a rental van and its possible connection to a suspect in today’s incident in New York City.
‘We are working closely with authorities to ensure they have any and all available information to meet their needs.’
There is a heightened police presence all over the city, particularly on the subway, and some schools in Brooklyn have been told to shelter in place.
Witnesses have described how the gunman calmly put on a gas mask on the slow-moving train this morning at 8.24am then tossed a smoke grenade down the carriage, causing havoc among commuters, before opening fire.
The terrified commuters rushed to the other end of the train to try to get through to the next car but the door was locked. They were trapped on the train until it reached the next station.
Video shows the moment the doors opened and wounded passengers spilled onto the platform, trailing blood.
DailyMail.com can confirm that a .380 handgun was found inside the station, along with three extended magazines; one was empty, one was full and a third was jammed in the gun.
Another bag was discovered that contained a batch of Falcon Rising fireworks and Seismic Wave firecrackers. It’s unclear what he intended to do with them.
The gunman then disappeared from 36th St, where no security cameras were in operation.
Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, told WCBS Radio 880 AM that a preliminary review indicates there appeared to be some sort of malfunction with the camera system at the subway station in Tuesday’s shooting.
Adams said investigators are trying to determine whether one camera malfunctioned or whether cameras throughout the entire station malfunctioned.
Janno Lieber, the chair and CEO of the Metro Transportation Authority (MTA), told CNN there are almost 10,000 cameras in the system including almost 600 cameras on the Brooklyn section of where the attack happened.
He did not comment on why they were not working.
The U-Haul that police believe is connected to the Brooklyn subway shooter is shown on Tuesday at 1780 West Third Street near King’s Highway in Brooklyn, five miles from the subway station where the attack took place. A bomb squad is at the scene
The U-Haul, shown behind police tape, was rented in Philadelphia. It’s unclear if there are explosives inside
NYPD officers received this alert on Tuesday alerting them to a U-Haul that the suspect may be driving. NYPD officers received this alert on Tuesday alerting them to a U-Haul that the suspect may be driving. The van was rented in Philadelphia but has Arizona plates
The U-Haul van connected to the suspect is pictured on Tuesday afternoon, five miles from the scene of the subway shooting
U-Haul is helping the FBI and NYPD with their investigations. Police believe to have identified the suspect thanks to a credit card left at the scene, and one given to U-Haul
This bag of fireworks, wire and firecrackers was recovered from the scene of the shooting on Tuesday after the suspect fled
The bag was filled with Falcon Rising fireworks and Seismic Wave Crackers that can easily be purchased online
He may also have jumped onto one of the other trains at the station, or fled into the subway tunnel.
It comes amid a frightening spike in crime across the city, particularly on the subway where crimes are up by more than 60 percent from this time last year.
The worst mass shooting in New York’s transit system was in December 1993, when Colin Ferguson opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train from New York City, killing six and injuring 19.
Other train passengers stopped the perpetrator by tackling and holding him down. Mentally unstable, he fired his lawyers then called for President Bill Clinton to appear at his trial, and was sentenced to six life sentences.
ABC reports that police have obtained a photograph of the suspect from a bystander’s phone, but that image has not yet been released anywhere.
The wounded and terrified commuters poured out of the subway doors and onto the platform at 36th Street, where they were filmed writhing on the ground in agony.
The gunman remains at large ten hours after the shooting.
NYPD units are now scouring the city’s empty subway tunnels to find the suspect and a city alert has been issued. but ten hours later, police are yet to release a single image of him.
Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference that she had not yet ruled out terrorism as a motive but that it was not being investigated as an act of terrorism.
She admitted that police still had not yet been able to identify who the gunman was, much less find him.
Police are now going door-to-door in Brooklyn asking store owners and residents in apartment buildings if they have any videos of the scene from around the time of the shooting in an attempt to find the gunman.
Members of the New York Police Department patrol the streets after 14 were injured – 10 of them shot, four affected by smoke – during a rush-hour shooting at a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn on April 12, 2022
This is how the horror shooting unfolded on Tuesday morning on the northbound N train at 8.24am as it approached 36th Street station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
An FBI agent walks along the sidewalk amidst a massive police response on the scene of a reported multiple shooting at a New York City Subway station in Brooklyn on Tuesday
A .38 caliber handgun similar to the type used in today’s shooting
‘I am not ruling anything out at this point,’ she said, as she asked New Yorkers to send photos, videos or any pieces of information that they thought may be relevant to police.
Adams, who is in quarantine after being diagnosed with COVID-19, said in a video message: ‘We will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized.
‘The NYPD is searching for the suspect. We will find him.’
Adams asked anyone with information, photos or videos of the suspect to come forward.
Governor Kathy Hochul said: ‘This morning ordinary New Yorkers woke up in anticipation of a relatively normal day. They left their homes, went to school, their jobs and to a normal life.
‘That was brutally disrupted by an individual so cold hearted and depraved of heart. This individual is still on the loose – this person is dangerous. This is an active shooter situation right now in the city of New York.’
Schools surrounding the subway station were ordered to shelter in place and an amber alert was issued throughout much of the city.
One witness told The New York Post the gunman – who was described as a ‘5ft 5 black man weighing 170lbs’, fired ‘too many rounds to count’.
It remains unclear what type of weapon he used.
NYPD officers were checking surveillance cameras around the scene (left) and (right) a cop at 42nd Street station in Manhattan on Tuesday
Police officers patrol in Times Square station after a shooting at a subway station in Brooklyn borough, in New York. There is a heightened police presence all over the city
Police and emergency services are seen near 36 Street subway station after a shooting incident. Brooklyn, New York. April 12 2022
Police and emergency services are seen near 36 Street subway station after a shooting incident on Tuesday afternoon
Terrified passengers run off the train at the 36th Street station on Tuesday morning after the shooting on the train
Horrifying scene photos and videos show people covered in blood, lying on the stained subway platform after being shot
A man on the northbound N train before the doors opened covering his mouth to protect from the smoke from the gunman’s grenade
This photo provided by Will B Wylde, a person is aided in a subway car in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. A gunman filled a rush-hour subway train with smoke and shot multiple people Tuesday, leaving wounded commuters bleeding on a Brooklyn platform as others ran screaming, authorities said. Police were still searching for the suspect
The chaos unfolded at 8.30am on Tuesday morning near the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
This video, taken inside the next car along on the train, shows worried commuters walking away from the door as someone pounded on it , begging to be let in. They tried to open it but the door was locked
Shocked witnesses tell how bullets and smoke bombs triggered horror stampede:
Terrified witnesses have told how the shooting triggered a horror stampede – with children trampled on as commuters tried to escape the hail of bullets.
Passengers revealed there was a huge surge towards the exit of the subway cars as people screamed ‘gun’ and ‘bomb’ before fleeing for their lives.
Cemile Toseglu, 17, a student at Brooklyn Tech who was on her way to school, said other riders jumped over her in panic while the gunman continued his rampage.
She told DailyMail.com: ‘The train carried on to 46th street but then we were told to get on the R train because the N wasn’t moving.
‘The R was very crowded, the most crowded I’ve ever seen it and everyone was cramped. On 25th street the train conductor said there would be delays so we were standing still.
‘That’s when there was like a loud noise and people ran towards me – a large crowd. A woman fell and people just ran over her.
‘Someone then scream gun and I ran out of the train, I was near the exit but people were jumping over me to get themselves out too.
‘No one really knew what was going on. I didn’t see the man because I was closer to the exit in the next carriage. That was definitely the most crowded I’ve seen the R train.’
Speaking from her home, she added: ‘I was most scared about the fact that there were a lot of children on the way to school.’
One witness, Yav Montano, told CNN that he was on the northbound N train between 59th Street in Brooklyn and 36th Street when a smoke bomb went off inside the carriage.
‘I thought he was an MTA worker at first because I was like, I didn’t like pay too much attention. You know? You’ve got the orange on,’ he said.
‘It was crazy. I take the N train every morning to get to where I need to work. From 59th Street to 36th Street, the N-train is express, is where all the dramatics happened.
‘I’m in the third part of the express N train. The smoke grenade went off two minutes before we got to 36th street platform. The train was inching towards. It seemed like it was planned.
‘This smoke bomb, and what I thought was fireworks, but I’m hearing it was gunshots. I have no words for what I could see. I was in the car – I was in the front end of the third car. Everything happened at the back end.
‘People started migrating to the front of the car. I don’t know if people know this, it’s one of those old things where they locked the door to stop people traveling between trains.
‘There were people in the other car who saw what was happening and they tried to open it but couldn’t. There was blood on the floor, a lot of blood trailing on the floor.
‘At the time, I didn’t think it was a shooting. It sounded like fireworks.
‘People trampling over each other, trying to get over each other. Thankfully the train moved to the next stop and everyone filed off the train,’ he said.
NYPD units are now scouring the city’s empty subway tunnels looking for the gunman, who is feared to have jumped onto the tracks at 36th Street and fled.
Cemil Toseglu, who runs a store opposite the station, told how his terrified 17-year-old daughter was on the train on her way to school when it was attacked.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘My daughter was going to school and was on the same train when it happened. She said there was smoke and she was told to get into the other train.
‘She’s now safe and came to my office before I sent her home. She is okay but is a little surprised. I didn’t think it was that serious but she then told me people were yelling that it was a man with a gun and maybe a bomb.’
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaking at the scene on Tuesday
The chaotic scene at the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on Tuesday morning
EMTs rush to the subway station on Tuesday morning after ten people were shot and another six were injured
NYPD ESU teams at the scene on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire on the subway at around 8.30am
Police officers work at the scene of a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 12, 2022
FDNY units at the scene on Tuesday morning after a gunman opened fire on a northbound N train that pulled into 36th Street at around 8.30am
Police and emergency responders gather at the site of a reported shooting of multiple people outside of the 36 St subway station on April 12
Police officers work at the scene of a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 12, 2022
Police and emergency responders gather at the site of a reported shooting of multiple people outside of the 36 St subway station on April 12, 2022
A police officer works near the scene of a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 12, 2022
The scene on 36th Street and Fourth Avenue on Tuesday as police, EMT and fire department teams responded to the shooting
NYPD officers at a different subway station on Tuesday looking for the suspect
Members of the New York Police Department and emergency personnel crowd the streets
An FDNY spokesman told DailyMail.com: ‘Originally, the call came in as smoke in the subway station. Upon arrival, officers found multiple people shot and undetonated devices.’
Shocking video showed blood-covered victims strewn across the ground at the subway station as smoke billowed out of the train.
One person was seen lying still on the floor with their hands over their face and their legs raised after the terrifying attack.
Others had lost shoes and had their clothes torn as the New York subway’s speaker system blared out messages to the passengers.
Commuters were screamed at to get on a different train to safety while the wounded were treated by emergency services.
Eric Adams’ spokesman said on Twitter: ‘@NYCMayor continues to be briefed on the situation. While we gather more information, we ask New Yorkers to stay away from this area for their safety and so that first responders can help those in need and investigate.’
NYPD officers and other city workers at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday morning
Law enforcement gathering at the scene of a shooting in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Law enforcement sources say multiple people were shot at a subway station in Brooklyn
As many as 16 people are believed to have been injured during the shooting and possible explosion
Police officers and firefighters work near the scene of a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 12, 2022
New York City Police officials on a roof at the scene of a reported multiple shooting at a New York City Subway station on 36th and 4th Ave in the Brooklyn borough
A large presence of NYPD Police officers and FDNY firefighters surround a subway entrance near where at least ten people are believed to have been shot after a shooting in a subway station on 4th Avenue in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn on Tuesday