Following a day-long manhunt for the fugitive gunman, New York police have apprehended a suspect accused of killing ten people on a crowded subway car, authorities said Wednesday.
Frank James, 62, was identified by police as the gunman who ignited two smoke canisters as the train approached a Brooklyn station before firing 33 rounds into the throng.
“We caught him, my fellow New Yorkers,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference announcing the arrest.
Officers saw James on a Manhattan street and detained him, according to Commissioner Keechant Sewell of the New York Police Department. He was apprehended without incident and will face charges in connection with the attack on Tuesday, she added.
A video circulating on social media showed a man who looked like James being detained and escorted into a police car.
No one was killed in the attack, but 13 people were injured as they tried to flee the station or were overcome by smoke inhalation. There were no life-threatening injuries among the victims.
James has recorded himself giving extended, often vehement political tirades and released them on YouTube. Later Wednesday, his page was taken down for “violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.”
He also chastised New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his videos.
Catherine James Robinson, James’ sister, told The New York Times that seeing him mentioned as a suspect “surprised” her, adding, “I don’t think he would do something like that.”
According to the newspaper, she claimed she hadn’t seen her brother in years and contradicted one detail offered by police: they indicated the shooter was roughly five feet five inches tall, but she claimed James was over six feet tall.
On Wednesday, police intensively patrolled the 36th Street station in Brooklyn, where the train arrived as the attack was being carried out, as commuters awaited their trains.
“I was so hesitant today that I attempted to hail a cab for about 20 minutes. I couldn’t find any, and Uber was around $60, so I figured, ‘It’s cool, I’ll take a chance on the subway today.'” Zeina Awedikian, a 38-year-old commuter, told AFP.
Others, on the other hand, were more stubborn. “Nobody will be able to drag me away from the metro. The subway is ingrained in my DNA “Dennis Sughrue, 56, expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation.
According to authorities, the gunman put on a gas mask as the train approached the station, then opened the smoke canisters and began fire.
“All you see is like a smoke, black smoke bomb going off, and then… everybody were rushing to the back,” Hourari Benkada, one of the gunshot victims, told CNN, alluding to a charge by passengers towards the car’s end door.
Benkada, speaking from his hospital bed, claimed he boarded the first train at 59th Street and sat close to the gunman, but that he didn’t notice anything until the car began to fill with smoke since he had his headphones on.
He said that at first he didn’t realise there were gunfire and that he was trying to console a pregnant woman next to him.
“I was pushed and got shot in the back of my knee,” he explained.
Benkada said that the firing lasted around a minute and that he heard around ten bullets.
He stated the bullet went through his knee and left a hole “the size of a quarter.” “I’ve lost a lot of blood.”
A Glock 17 nine-millimeter handgun, three more ammunition magazines, and a hatchet were later discovered at the scene by police. James’ credit card and the keys to a van he had rented were also discovered, according to US media reports.
The number of shootings in New York has increased this year, and Adams has made the increase in violent gun crime a priority since taking office in January. According to police records, gunshot occurrences increased to 296 from 260 in the same period last year.
Attempts to reduce the amount of guns in circulation in the United States have been continually thwarted by lax gun laws and a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, despite the fact that a majority of Americans support tighter controls.