Brooklyn Subway Shooter Arrested

On April 12, 10 people were shot during a mass shooting incident on a Brooklyn subway car. A security video shows the suspect, Frank James, entering the train platform wearing a construction helmet and hi-vis jacket before boarding an N street train. Reports from the scene allege that James put on a gas mask before setting off two smoke grenades and opening fire on the train car as it arrived at the 36th Street station. An additional 19 passengers were injured via smoke inhalation or injuries sustained during the panic of evacuation. There were no fatalities.

After a nearly 30 hour manhunt, James was arrested when he himself called into a tip line informing police of his location. He appeared in court on April 14 and was charged with committing an act of terrorrism on a mass transport system. He is currently being held without bail, and could face life in prison if convicted.

In an interview with ABC, New York City mayor Eric Adams called for “corporate responsibility” from social media platforms to flag potentially dangerous people posting violent or hateful content. Frank James had a backlog of videos posted on YouTube in which he expressed racist and antisemitic ideas. He recorded clips in which he criticized Adams for nor addressing homeless populations on the subway. James also expressed struggles with his mental health, claiming to have PTSD. James has a criminal record, but no felonies, and so was able to purchase the handgun he used in the attack legally. 

The shooting only serves to ratchet up tensions over crime and security in New York City that have been heightened by the pandemic. Security cameras at the 36th Street Station were down when James attacked, hindering the investigation in the wake of his escape. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced it is launching a probe targeting issues in the subway’s camera system.

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