The New York Police Department on Wednesday arrested the man wanted in connection with the mass subway shooting in Brooklyn after a person spotted him in lower Manhattan and called a tip line.
Officers from the Ninth Precinct took Frank R. James, 62, into custody at St. Mark’s Place and First Avenue without incident.
“We got him. We got him,” Mayor Eric Adams said.
Mr. James is accused of opening a smoke canister and then opening fire on a subway car Tuesday as it pulled into the 36th Street station. Ten people were shot and 13 additional people suffered other injuries during the incident, which sparked fear in America’s largest city and raised new questions about subway safety.
Mr. James will be charged under a federal law on terrorist and violent attacks against mass transit systems, authorities said. The offense is punishable by up to life in prison.
“I want to thank everyday New Yorkers who called in tips, who responded, who helped those passengers who were injured,” Mr. Adams said. “Less than 30 hours later, we’re able to say we got him.”
SEE ALSO: NYC Mayor Eric Adams pledges police ‘omnipresence’ after subway shooting
Mr. James, a Black man who most recently lived in Milwaukee, posted social-media videos before the incident in which he criticized Mr. Adams and ranted about race and violence. In one video, he complained that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the recently confirmed Supreme Court justice, is married to a white man.
CNN reported that Mr. James left his home in Milwaukee on March 20 and arrived in Philadelphia on March 20 after stops in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Pittsburgh; and Newark, New Jersey.
Authorities said they believe Mr. James entered the subway system at the King’s Highway station not far from where officers recovered a U-Haul truck he rented in Philadelphia.
They believe he fired his weapon 33 times at riders before boarding an R train that pulled into the 36th station and riding one stop up to exit at 25th Street.
Police said a 9mm Glock recovered at the scene was purchased by Mr. James in 2011 in Ohio. He had a long arrest record, including multiple charges in New York and New Jersey, but no felony convictions, police said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell praised officers for using all evidence to link him to the shooting.
“We were able to shrink his world quickly. There was nowhere left for him to run,” she said.
It appeared Mr. James was not trying to run, however, and was spotted hanging out in the city.
The shooting heaped pressure on Mr. Adams, who won the mayor’s seat after pledging to tackle crime.
Mr. Adams said he is trying to chip away at the problem with a reestablished anti-gun unit and efforts to reform a “revolving door” criminal-justice system.
Transit crimes have spiked in the first months of 2022 compared to last year, however, and a 40-year-old woman was killed when a man pushed her in front of a subway train in February.
“First it was COVID, then it was a surge in subway crime, and now this. It’s been a tough haul trying to get people back to work and this isn’t going to help. It is not a perception that the subway is bad — it’s a reality,” Joseph Giacalone, a former New York City police sergeant and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told The Washington Times.
“Top police officials and many politicians took the train today, most for a photo op. Let’s see if they continue to do it in the coming weeks — I doubt it,” he said.
The subway system was running full service on all its lines Wednesday, including the 36th Street station where the shooting occurred. Mr. Adams said he remains devoted to improving the system.
“I use the subway system often. I believe it plays a vital role in our city. It is crucial to the recovery of this city,” the mayor told WNYC radio’s “Morning Edition.”
Mr. Adams said he might rely on groundbreaking technology to make the system safer. He said there are scanners that can detect guns without stopping everyone and searching their belongings. It is used at ballparks and other venues so the city will explore whether it can be used in the subway system.
However, the city stumbled in using more-basic technology in this case.
Cameras in the 36th Street station that might have captured the Tuesday shooting were not working, prompting outrage.
The cameras are controlled by the MTA, not the police, and the city is trying to figure out whether other cameras are malfunctioning, according to Mr. Adams.
“It seems as if the speed cameras and the red-light cameras work fine,” Mr. Giacalone said. “This is ridiculous. The cameras are supposed to provide a sense of security for people using the system.”
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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