A man wearing a construction vest set off a smoke device and opened fire on riders inside a Brooklyn subway car on Tuesday morning, injuring 23 people, according to the authorities.
As the Manhattan-bound N express train pulled into the 36th Street station in Sunset Park at 8:24 a.m., the on-board gunman put on a gas mask, pulled a canister out of his bag that filled the train with smoke, and fired at commuters in the subway car and on the platform, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell told reporters during a press conference at the scene Tuesday afternoon, April 12.
Ten people were shot and five are in critical but stable condition at local hospitals, said acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh, but none of the wounds were life-threatening, according to NYPD’s Sewell.
Others were injured by shrapnel, smoke inhalation, and panic during the horrific underground attack, according to the FDNY chief.
Dramatic video from the scene showed straphangers pouring out of a smoke-filled train at the station, including several riders who were injured and bleeding onto the train and the platform. Riders were helping other commuters lying injured inside the train, the footage shows.
So this just happened #NYC
3 ppl shot. Suspect was dressed as an MTA employee. Used smoke bombs pic.twitter.com/dMiYQyKjFJ
— Will B. Wylde (@IXIXI_45) April 12, 2022
First responders found several undetonated devices at the station, according to FDNY, but NYPD later said there were no active explosives at the site.
The motive for the attack remains unclear, according to Sewell.
Police described the suspect as a heavy-set Black man standing about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, who was wearing a green construction vest and a grey hoodie.
A camera at the station appeared to be malfunctioning at the time, according to a preliminary review Mayor Eric Adams referenced in media interviews Tuesday.
“There appeared to have been some form of malfunction with the camera system. That is still under investigation. We are communicating with the MTA to find out was it throughout the entire station, or was it just one camera,” Adams said on WCBS 880 radio.
The mayor, who is isolating at Gracie Mansion after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, said later that afternoon that he hoped the transit agency would survey all its cameras to make sure they’re operable.
“We want to make sure they are operated and we’re hoping that a canvas and an inventory is done with all of the cameras in our system. If there’s a problem, it must be immediately repaired,” Hizzoner told WPIX11.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairperson and CEO Janno Lieber said the agency said the agency has nearly 10,000 cameras in the system, including almost 600 just on the N line in Brooklyn, but didn’t say why no footage of the suspect had been made publicly available yet.
“There’s a lot of different stations, a lot of different cameras that NYPD is looking at with our team and it’s probably too early to say what they’re coming up with, but there are a lot of different options to identify where this bad guy came in or exited the system we’re looking at it,” Lieber told 1010 WINS.
The city will double the amount of cops in transit — up from an already record-breaking amount since the beginning of the year — by deploying daytime Boys in Blue to join the evening canvasses, Adams said.
Governor Kathy Hochul condemned the violence against New Yorkers during the Tuesday afternoon presser.
“This morning, ordinary New Yorkers woke up in anticipation of a relatively normal day,” Governor Hochul said. “That sense of tranquility and normalness was disrupted — brutally disrupted — by an individual so cold-hearted and depraved of heart that they had no caring about the individuals that they assaulted as they simply went about their daily lives.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden has also been updated about the events, and that senior White House staff have offered assistance to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell.
MTA suspended the D, N, and R lines in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan due to the incident, and B and W trains were completely suspended.
Transit officials ran free shuttle buses along the D and N lines and increased service along bus lines in the area.
Limited D and N service from Manhattan to Coney Island returned by Tuesday evening, while R trains remained out of service between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“We got little gaps,” Lieber told 1010 WINS. “But we are running very robust service on almost every every part of the system.”
The city’s NYC Ferry system waived fares on its South Brooklyn route, which passes along the Sunset Park waterfront, and boosted the number of boats for the evening commute.
Service Alert – South Brooklyn Route – 4/12/22
Due to MTA disruptions, NYC Ferry will waive fares on the South Brooklyn route for the remainder of the day and provide additional service during the evening commute.
— NYC Ferry (@NYCferry) April 12, 2022
MTA advised commuters are to take the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, F or G trains for service between Brooklyn and Manhattan and to visit mta.info for the latest updates.
The NYPD asks anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA).
With AP reports
Check with amNY.com later for further updates on this developing story.