August 15, 2022

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Man needed in Brooklyn subway assault arrested, officers say

By MICHAEL R. SISAK, MICHAEL BALSAMO and JENNIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK (AP) — The person needed within the taking pictures of 10 folks on a subway in Brooklyn was arrested Wednesday afternoon, a day after the assault on a crowded rush-hour practice.

Frank R. James, 62, was taken into custody in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, regulation enforcement officers who weren’t licensed to debate the investigation and spoke on situation of anonymity instructed The Related Press. Regulation enforcement situated James after police obtained a tip about his potential whereabouts, the official stated.

Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed the arrest whereas talking at an unrelated information convention. Additional particulars weren’t instantly accessible.

Police had initially stated Tuesday that James was being hunted for questioning as a result of he had rented a van probably linked to the assault, however weren’t positive whether or not he was chargeable for the taking pictures. Mayor Eric Adams stated in a sequence of media interviews Wednesday morning that investigators had upgraded James to a suspect, however didn’t provide particulars past citing “new data that turned accessible to the group.”

The gunman despatched off smoke grenades in a crowded subway automotive after which fired at the least 33 pictures with a 9 mm handgun, police stated. 5 gunshot victims have been in crucial situation however all 10 wounded within the taking pictures have been anticipated to outlive. At the least a dozen others who escaped gunshot wounds have been handled for smoke inhalation and different accidents.

The shooter escaped within the chaos, however 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.

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That key led investigators to James, a New York Metropolis-area native who had newer addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.

Federal investigators decided the gun used within the taking pictures was bought by James at a pawn store — a licensed firearms seller — within the Columbus, Ohio, space in 2011, a regulation enforcement official stated

The van was discovered, unoccupied, close to a station the place investigators decided the gunman had entered the subway system. No explosives or firearms have been discovered within the van, a regulation enforcement official stated. Police did discover different gadgets, together with pillows, suggesting he might have been sleeping or deliberate to sleep within the van, the official stated.

Investigators imagine James drove up from Philadelphia on Monday and have reviewed surveillance video exhibiting a person matching his bodily description popping out of the van early Tuesday morning, the official stated. Different video exhibits James getting into a subway station in Brooklyn with a big bag, the official stated.

Along with analyzing monetary and phone data linked to James, investigators have been reviewing hours of rambling, profanity-filled movies James posted on YouTube and different social media platforms — replete with violent language and bigoted feedback, some towards different Black folks — as they tried to discern a motive.

In a single video, posted a day earlier than the assault, James criticizes crime towards Black folks and says drastic motion is required.

“You bought youngsters getting in 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 stated, including that he thought issues would solely change if sure folks have been “stomped, kicked and tortured” out of their “consolation zone.”

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In one other video he says, “this nation was born in violence, it’s stored alive by violence or the risk thereof and it’s going to die a violent demise. There’s nothing going to cease that.”

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell referred to as the posts “regarding” and officers tightened safety for Adams, who was already isolating following a optimistic 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 deal with 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 regular Wednesday morning, lower than 24 hours after the violence.

Commuter Jude Jacques, who takes the D practice to his job as a fireplace security director some two blocks from the taking pictures scene, stated he prays each morning however had a particular request on Wednesday.

“I stated, ‘God, every little thing is in your arms,’” Jacques stated. “I used to be antsy, and you’ll think about why. Everyone is scared as a result of it simply occurred.”

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Balsamo reported from Washington. Related Press writers Jim Mustian, Beatrice Dupuy, Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Deepti Hajela, Michelle L. Worth and David Porter in New York contributed to this report, and Michael Kunzelman contributed from School Park, Maryland.