Assistant International Editor
Ten people were shot and another 13 were wounded after a mass shooting on a subway train in Brooklyn, NY. The suspect, Frank James, was arrested on April 13 and charged with a federal terrorism offense.
On April 12, James, dressed in a construction vest and helmet, put on a gas mask and tossed two smoke grenades on the floor of the N train and shot 33 bullets as it neared 36th St. station. He then fled the scene after shooting 10 people, five of whom were critically injured. Thirteen others were injured from smoke inhalation, panic attacks or falling down, according to the BBC. All victims are expected to survive, but the shooting traumatized many New Yorkers who were at the scene.
“I did see a gentleman who was shot in lower stomach, laying out the ground, being treated by three or four people – bystanders, not EMS,” said Kenneth Foote-Smith, a witness in a nearby subway car, to NBC New York. “I wasn’t the one who was injured or shot. Those are the people I think about, who I can’t stop thinking about. The people I couldn’t help.”
According to The New York Times, at the scene, police discovered a hatchet, two more gas canisters and a jammed Glock handgun, which police believe could have saved lives. Police also found James’ credit card and key to a U-Haul van, which police found abandoned five blocks away from the subway. These items ultimately led police to label James as a suspect.
While police are unsure of the gunman’s motives, social media posts show James ranting on his views on race and violence. According to The New York Times, James also criticized New York’s Mayor, Eric Adams’, handling of crime on the subways. In February, Adams announced a subway safety plan that increased the police presence at subway stations and increased outreach for people who are homeless, according to ABC.
“He may slow it down, but he ain’t stopping it,” said James in a social media post about crime in the subway. “That means you’d have to police in every station and that’s just not possible.”
Despite James’ arrest, many people are criticizing the lack of functional cameras in the subway, which may have slowed efforts to find the gunman. A senior law enforcement official told The New York Times that none of the cameras were operational at the time of the shooting despite the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) claim that “no more than 1 percent of the subway system’s cameras are out of service at any given time.” The MTA is currently looking into the problem.
The shooting comes after an increase in crime rates this year since 2021, including a 65% increase in crime in the transportation system. Kathy Hochul, New York’s Governor, condemned the attack and also promised to fight the “surge of crime.”
“No more mass shootings. No more disrupting lives. No more creating heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers,” said Hochul in a press briefing. “It has to end and it ends now.”