The person accused of taking pictures 10 folks on a Brooklyn subway practice was arrested Wednesday and charged with a federal terrorism offense after the suspect himself known as police to come back get him, regulation enforcement officers mentioned.
Frank R. James, 62, was taken into custody about 30 hours after the carnage on a rush-hour practice, which left 5 victims in crucial situation and other people across the metropolis on edge.
“My fellow New Yorkers, we acquired him,” Mayor Eric Adams mentioned.
James was awaiting arraignment on a cost that pertains to terrorist or different violent assaults towards mass transit methods and carries a sentence of as much as life in jail, Brooklyn U.S. Legal professional Breon Peace mentioned.
In current months, James railed in on-line movies about racism and violence within the U.S. and about his experiences with psychological well being care in New York Metropolis, and he had criticized Adams’ insurance policies on psychological well being and subway security. However the motive for the subway assault stays unclear, and there’s no indication that James had ties to terror organizations, worldwide or in any other case, Peace mentioned.
It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not James, who’s from New York however has lived lately in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, has an legal professional or anybody else who can converse for him. An indication taped to the door of James’ Milwaukee condominium asks that each one mail be delivered to a put up workplace field.
James, in a blue t-shirt and brown pants along with his arms cuffed behind his again, didn’t reply to reporters shouting questions as police escorted him to a automobile a number of hours after his arrest.
Police had launched an enormous effort to seek out him, releasing his title and issuing cellphone alerts.
They acquired a tip Wednesday that he was in a McDonald’s in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, Chief of Division Kenneth Corey mentioned.
The tipster was James, and he advised authorities to come back and get him, two regulation enforcement officers mentioned. They weren’t approved to debate the continued investigation and spoke on situation of anonymity.
James was gone when officers arrived, however they quickly noticed him on a busy nook close by.
4 police automobiles zoomed round a nook, officers leaped out and, quickly, a compliant James was in handcuffs as a crowd of individuals seemed on, witness Aleksei Korobow mentioned.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell mentioned authorities “had been capable of shrink his world rapidly.”
“There was nowhere left for him to run,” she mentioned.
The day earlier than, James set off smoke grenades in a commuter-packed subway automobile after which fired a minimum of 33 photographs with a 9 mm handgun, police mentioned.
Police Chief of Detectives James Essig mentioned police had been advised that after James opened one of many smoke grenades, a rider requested, “What did you do?”
“Oops,” James mentioned, then went on to brandish his gun and open hearth, in line with a witness account.
At the very least a dozen individuals who escaped gunshot wounds had been handled for smoke inhalation and different accidents.
As terrified riders fled the assault, James apparently hopped one other practice — the identical one many had been steered to for security, police mentioned. He acquired out on the subsequent station, disappearing into the nation’s most populous metropolis.
The shooter left behind quite a few clues, together with the gun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, gasoline and the important thing to a U-Haul van. That key led investigators to James.
Federal investigators decided the gun used within the taking pictures was bought by James at a pawn store — a licensed firearms supplier — within the Columbus, Ohio, space in 2011.
The van was discovered, unoccupied, close to a station the place investigators decided the gunman had entered the subway system. No explosives or firearms had been discovered within the van, a regulation enforcement official who wasn’t approved to touch upon the investigation and did so on the situation of anonymity advised The Related Press. Police did discover different objects, together with pillows, suggesting he might have been sleeping or deliberate to sleep within the van, the official mentioned.
Investigators imagine James drove up from Philadelphia on Monday and have reviewed surveillance video displaying a person matching his bodily description popping out of the van early Tuesday morning, the official mentioned. Different video reveals James getting into a subway station in Brooklyn with a big bag, the official mentioned.
Along with analyzing monetary and phone information related to James, investigators had been reviewing hours of rambling, profanity-filled movies James posted on YouTube and different social media platforms as they tried to discern a motive.
In a single video, posted a day earlier than the assault, James, who’s Black, criticizes crime towards Black folks and says drastic motion is required.
“You bought youngsters stepping into right here now taking machine weapons and mowing down harmless folks,” James says. “It’s not going to get higher till we make it higher,” he mentioned, including that he thought issues would solely change if sure folks had been “stomped, kicked and tortured” out of their “consolation zone.”
In one other video he says, “this nation was born in violence, it’s stored alive by violence or the menace thereof and it’s going to die a violent loss of life. There’s nothing going to cease that.”
His posts are replete with violent language and bigoted feedback, some towards Black folks.
Sewell known as the posts “regarding” and officers tightened safety for Adams, who was already isolating following a constructive COVID-19 check Sunday.
A number of of James’ movies point out New York’s subways. A Feb. 20 video says the mayor and governor’s plan to handle homelessness and security within the subway system “is doomed for failure” and refers to himself as a “sufferer” of the town’s psychological well being applications. A Jan. 25 video criticizes Adams’ plan to finish gun violence.
The Brooklyn subway station the place passengers fled the smoke-filled practice within the assault was open as common Wednesday morning, lower than 24 hours after the violence.
Commuter Jude Jacques, who takes the D practice to his job as a hearth security director some two blocks from the taking pictures scene, mentioned he prays each morning however had a particular request on Wednesday.
“I mentioned, ‘God, every thing is in your arms,’” Jacques mentioned. “I used to be antsy, and you’ll think about why. Everyone is scared as a result of it simply occurred.”
Balsamo reported from Washington. Related Press writers Jim Mustian, Beatrice Dupuy, Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Deepti Hajela, Michelle L. Value and David Porter in New York contributed to this report, and Michael Kunzelman contributed from School Park, Maryland.