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On Tuesday, April 12th in Brooklyn, New York, there was a shooting on a subway train. This attack consisted of 33 shots and the use of smoke grenades which left 29 injured. Of those 29 victims, ten had been shot. According to CNN, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul reported five of the injured as being students. Fortunately a suspect, Frank James, was arrested a day later; he was also the one who alerted the authorities. The 62-year-old male was arrested near McDonald’s in New York’s East Village, where he had called a Crime Stoppers tip from an hour prior. He had previously been arrested 12 times for various other crimes in both New York and New Jersey starting back in 1991 and as recently as 2007. NYPD Chief of Detectives, James Essig, stated these arrests were; possession of burglary tools, criminal sex act, theft of service, trespassing, larceny, and disorderly conduct.
James could end up with a life sentence with charges of 18 U.S.C. 1992(a)(7), which refers to terrorist acts on any mass transportation system. This includes the use of a weapon with intent to cause injury or death; he will be tried on the federal level. Youtube videos were used to trace his travels and have since been removed. Some of these videos indicate that he was intoxicated or high, possibly connected to self-described “post-traumatic stress”.
He started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 20th then Fort Wayne, Indiana. James stopped multiple times in Pennsylvania including Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia. According to these videos he stayed in Bordentown, New Jersey, and most likely went back to Philadelphia before going to New York. None of these videos included evidence of his plans to go to New York. His motive is still unclear and there are no comments from any of his family members. What is known is he used racist and misogynistic language and talked about feelings of violence and mass shootings, and claimed that it is an environment that causes a shooter. These videos are discussed in detail in this article by CNN.
Gov. Kathy Hochul stated this after the arrest, “My heart is with all those who are injured, their loved ones, and the entire Sunset Park community. The epidemic of gun violence that continues to terrorize communities across this country must end. My pledge to New Yorkers is this: I will fight every day to restore public safety, get guns off our streets, and prevent these horrific acts of violence.”
NPR wrote details on the weapon used in the shooting. The 9 mm Glock handgun was purchased legally in Ohio back in 2011. Despite a history of arrests he did not have any felony convictions and therefore was not restricted from purchasing.
Five civilians will be honored with a $50,000 reward split between them. This reward offered by Crime Stoppers is provided by MTA, the Transport Workers Union Local 100, and the New York City Police Foundation. Both Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell praised the New York citizens who assisted in the arrest. In a quote from Sewell, “The public is who we serve, but they are also often our best partner”.