The police’s person of interest in the Brooklyn subway shooting has become the prime suspect for the Tuesday morning attack that shook the city, Mayor Eric Adams announced.
Frank Robert James, 62, remained at large after allegedly detonating smoke canisters and firing 33 shots at straphangers inside a Manhattan-bound N subway train pulling into 36th Street in Sunset Park on April 12, injuring 23 people including 10 with gunshot wounds.
“We have now upgraded the person of interest to being a suspect,” Mayor Adams said on WNYC Wednesday morning, April 13.
— Fabien Levy (@Fabien_Levy) April 13, 2022
NYPD identified James as a person of interest Tuesday evening after they found a set of keys at the crime scene and traced it to a U-Haul truck, which he rented in Philadelphia and that cops found at W. 3rd Street and Kings Highway in Gravesend.
James has addresses in both Philadelphia and Wisconsin, and there is a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the shooter’s arrest.
At the scene of the crime, police also recovered a Glock 17 9 millimeter handgun with three extended magazines, four smoke grenades, a hatchet, gasoline, a bag of fireworks, and a hobby fuse, law enforcement officials said during a Tuesday evening press conference.
The suspect, who was wearing a green and orange construction vest, got on at Kings Highway station, four blocks from where the van was found, and traveled eight stops on the northbound N line before donning a gas mask, detonating the gas canisters and shooting at his fellow passengers.
Police also tightened Mayor Adams’s security detail after they found videos on YouTube posted by James railing against the mayor and the city’s response to crime, mental health outreach, and homelessness in the subways.
The cameras in the 36th Street station were malfunctioning at the time, which MTA chief Janno Lieber attributed to a “server problem,” but the transit guru told WCBS 880 radio Wednesday morning that they got video of James coming into the system from three perspectives.
“There may have been a server problem or an internet connection problem at one or two of them,” Lieber told the radio station.
When pressed repeatedly about the Sunset Park camera outages, the transit chief told 1010 WINS in a later interview that “a couple of cameras” are out regularly across the MTA’s network of almost 10,000 cameras at its 472 subway stations, including nearly 600 on the Brooklyn section of the N line alone, but he claimed it wasn’t a systemic issue.
“It’s not a systemic problem,” Lieber said Wednesday afternoon. “There are going to be a couple of cameras out any one day. It is after all the internet era, we all know about that.”
At least two new images NYPD posted on its Twitter account Wednesday show the suspect inside and exiting at a subway stop.
Subway service returned to normal for the Wednesday morning commute, after the D, N, and R trains had been suspended for most of Tuesday in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Good morning, New York.
We're running full service on all of our lines after NYPD completed its investigation at 36 St in Brooklyn.
B/W trains are running on their regular routes, and all D/N/R trains are stopping at 36 St.
Thank you for riding with us
— NYCT Subway. Wear a Mask. (@NYCTSubway) April 13, 2022