Newsman: The person of interest for allegedly donning a gas mask, releasing a smoke bomb and opening fire on a crowded Brooklyn subway Frank R James, 62, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Police were alerted to his presence by pictures on social media that showed him suspect basically wandering around the area.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams opened a news conference following the arrest of Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James, telling New Yorkers “we got him.”
“My fellow New Yorkers. We got him. We got him. I cannot thank the men and women of the New York City Police Department enough, as well as the federal agents and our state police and first responders — from the 911 operators to the various state and medical professions, we got him,” Mayor Adams said.
Eric Adams, who tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend, appeared via video link on Wednesday afternoon.
Mayor Eric Adams thanked everyone who called in tips during the less than 30 hours that James on the loose after was Tuesday’s shooting.
Authorities said 62-year-old Frank R. James was spotted by bystanders in the area of St. Marks Place and First Avenue in the East Village Wednesday.
He was detained by two patrol officers, apparently without incident and Precinct officers engaged him and took him into custody, and he was brought to the 9th Precinct.He was detained close to where he was spotted just hours earlier by a member of the public, who took photos and sent them to the NYPD.
Authorities identified James as a person of interest Tuesday night, but by Wednesday after the investigation linked James to the crime in numerous ways, Mayor Eric Adams said James was considered the suspect and a wanted fugitive.
That determination was made overnight after more than 18 hours of investigation that included video, cell phone data, and witness interviews.
“There was a clear desire to create terror,” Adams said. “If you bring a smoke bomb or would you bring an automatic weapon with a gas mask and in a very methodical way injured…innocent New Yorkers, that is terror.”
Suspected Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James was stopped on the street and arrested by NYPD officers who were responding to a crime stoppers tip, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
“He was taken into custody without incident and has been transported to NYPD facility,” Sewell continued.
James will charged with committing yesterday’s “appalling crime in Brooklyn,” the official said. “We were able to shrink his world quickly, there was nowhere else for him to run,” she added.
James was previously arrested nine times in New York City, according to New York Police Department Chief of Detectives James Essig.
“Through the course of this investigation, we developed additional information and evidence,” he said Wednesday. “Mr. James is a male, 62 years old. He is known to us and has ties in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City. His arrest history in New York is nine prior arrests, dating from 1992 to 1998. Those include possession of burglary tools four times, criminal sex act, theft of service two times. He was arrested on a New Jersey warrant. He also has a criminal tampering.”
Additionally, James has three arrests in New Jersey, Essig said.
However, James had no felony convictions so he was able to purchase a gun, Essig said in response to a reporter’s question.
James was named a suspect after police found a key to a U-Haul van at Tuesday’s crime scene which authorities said James rented in Philadelphia, as well as a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and extended magazines, a hatchet, fireworks, a liquid believed to be gasoline, a black garbage can, and detonated and undetonated smoke grenades.
At least four schoolchildren aged 12 to 16 are believed to be among the injured passengers requiring medical treatment after suffering from bullet wounds, smoke inhalation, falls and panic. Five of 10 people shot were reported to be in critical but stable condition; another 19 were injured, though nobody was reported to be in life-threatening condition.
Authorities had offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the gunman, who was wearing a gas mask as he fired 33 shots on the packed train.
In a video posted on Monday, James said he had experienced the desire to kill people but he didn’t want to go to jail.
James, who has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia, appears to have posted dozens of bizarre rambling videos on social media in recent years in which he has expressed a range of bigoted views on topics ranging from mental health services, death and race to Ukraine. Police released a screenshot of James taken from a YouTube video posted by a channel belonging to the username prophetoftruth88.
In a video posted last month, James singled out the city’s new mayor, Eric Adams, by name, criticizing his recently announced public safety policies targeting homeless people in the subway. The security detail for Adams, who is at home recovering from Covid, will be strengthened in light of the videos, according to New York’s police commissioner, Keechant Sewell.