Police officials have identified a person of interest sought in connection with Tuesday morning’s Brooklyn subway shooting that left nearly two dozen people injured either from gunshots or the blasts of smoke grenades.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell joined fellow NYPD officials and Mayor Eric Adams who spoke virtually to reveal that they have a person of interest 62-year-old Frank R. James. It has not been confirmed if James is directly responsible for the shocking bullet storm.
James, who has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia, allegedly posted a series of disgruntled videos fuming over Mayor Eric Adams’ homeless encampment removal policy throughout the city and named Adams in these videos, prompting officials to tighten the mayor’s security detail.
“We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any. The two crime scenes, the subway and the van are very active and are still being processed,” Chief of Detectives James Essig stressed.
According to Essig, James dropped a set of keys at the scene of the crime scene was later traced to a rented U-Haul. However, police stressed that James is merely a person of interest at this time.
Officials underscored that Tuesday’s shooting is a highly coordinated investigation that includes NYPD detectives, the FBI, NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force and the ATF, all have been involved in tracing the firearm, ballistics, and the U-Haul van rental.
“As that N train was between stations 59th Street and 36th Street, seated in the second car, in the rear corner was a dark-skinned male. Various descriptions of his height are given. He is heavyset, wearing an orange, green nylon type construction vest. He also had on a gray hoodie, a surgical mask and a neon green construction helmet,” Essig said, imploring anyone with videos of the incident or witnesses to contact Crime Stoppers. There is a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
Police officials shared that the suspect came prepared for violence, recovering at the scene a Glock 17 nine millimeter handgun, 33 discharged shell casings, 15 bullets, five bullet fragments, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet, three extended Glock-type magazines — one was still in the weapon while the other was placed under the train car seat, and the other was found inside of a backpack — black garbage can, a black rolling cart, gasoline, and a uHaul key.
“We are truly fortunate that this was not significantly worse than it is. As we reported this afternoon, a man who was traveling on a Manhattan bound N train opened two canisters that dispense smoke throughout the subway car. He then shot multiple passengers as the train pulled into the 36th Street Station in Sunset Park. Ten people were injured by gunfire and an additional 13 were either injured as they rushed to get out of the train station or they suffered smoke inhalation,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, assuring that none of the injuries were life threatening.
Security cameras at three stations affected by the subway shooting were not working, officials said. Police are investigating if there was a mechanical malfunction.
Mayor Adams, still recovering in isolation from COVID-19, chimed in virtually to stress that every resource available will be supplied to the investigation, and he further condemned the state of gun violence in New York City. Adams added that there are 400 million guns in the United States and has a gun homicide rate that is 26 times other countries.
“I have been realistic and outspoken about my commitment to protecting public safety. I stand by that and will continue to do everything in my power to dam the rivers that feed the sea of violence. But this is not only a New York City problem, this rage, this violence these guns, these relentless shootings are an American problem. And it’s going to take all levels of government to solve,” Adams said.
The U-Haul van believed to be driven by the gunman was discovered by police on West 3rd street and Kings Highway. As the information was being divulged, the bomb had just finished delicately searching the vehicle.
Anyone with information regarding the person of interest’s whereabouts or the shooting itself is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.