NEW YORK (AP) — Police continued to search for the gunman Wednesday who opened fire on a subway train in Brooklyn, an attack that left 10 fatally shot and once again interrupted the long journey from New York City to post-pandemic normalcy.
NEW YORK (AP) — Police continued to chase the shooter on Wednesday who opened fire on a subway train in Brooklyn, an attack that killed 10 people and once again interrupted New York’s long journey to post-pandemic normalcy.
The search has focused in part on a man who police say rented a van possibly linked to Tuesday’s violence.
Investigators said they don’t know if the man, Frank R. James, was responsible for the shooting. But authorities were reviewing social media videos in which the 62-year-old described the United States as a racist place awash in violence and sometimes railed against New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
“This nation was born in violence, it is kept alive by violence or the threat of it and it will die a violent death. Nothing is going to stop this,” James said in a video.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called the messages ‘concerning’ and officials stepped up security for Adams, who was already self-isolating following a positive COVID-19 test Sunday.
Adams said Wednesday investigators were focused on finding James.
“We will continue to close the loop around him and bring him in, and continue to investigate this horrific act against innocent New Yorkers,” the Democrat said on MSNBC.
The shooter threw smoke grenades into a crowded subway car and then fired at least 33 shots from a 9mm handgun, police said. Five gunshot victims were in critical condition, but the 10 injured in the shooting were expected to survive. At least a dozen other people who escaped gunshot wounds were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.
A passenger, Jordan Javier, thought the first sound he heard was that of a book falling. Then there was another pop. People started moving towards the front of the car, he said, and he realized there was smoke.
When the train pulled into the 36th Street station in the Sunset Park neighborhood, people ran out and were directed to another train across the platform. Passengers cried and prayed as they walked away from the scene, Javier said.
“I’m just grateful to be alive,” he said.
The shooter fled in the chaos, leaving behind the weapon, extended magazines, a hatchet, detonated and undetonated smoke grenades, a black trash can, a rolling cart, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van.
That key led investigators to James, who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said. The van was later found, unoccupied, near a station where investigators determined the shooter entered the subway, Essig said.
Rambling, profanity-filled YouTube videos apparently posted by James, who is black, are filled with violent language and bigoted comments, some against other black people.
In a video, posted a day before the attack, he criticizes crime against black people and says drastic action is needed.
“You have kids coming in here now taking machine guns and mowing down innocent people,” James says. “trampled, kicked and tortured” out of their “comfort zone”.
Several videos mention NYC subways.
A February 20 video says the mayor and governor plan to address homelessness and safety on the subway “is doomed” and poses as a “victim” of the city’s mental health programs. A January 25 video criticizes Adams plan to end gun violence.
Adams said in a video statement that the city “will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized by even one individual.”
Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Beatrice Dupuy, Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Deepti Hajela, Michelle L. Price, and David Porter in New York contributed to this report, and Michael Kunzelman contributed from College Park, Maryland.
Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press