SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) – A man wanted for allegedly wearing a gas mask, dropping a smoke bomb and finding fire in a crowded Brooklyn subway on Tuesday morning has been arrested.
Authorities said 62-year-old Frank R. James was spotted by passersby in the St. Louis area. Marks Place and First Avenue in the East Village on Wednesday.
Police were warned of his presence through photos on social media, which show that the suspect is actually wandering around the area.
Officers from the precinct hired and detained him, and he was brought to the 9th police station.
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The attack left at least 29 people shot or otherwise injured, shaking a city that was already nervous about the sharp rise in crime.
Witnesses said the long shooter was seen muttering to himself while wearing a reflective vest before putting on a gas mask and removing a box from his bag, which then filled the car with smoke. Then he started firing.
Ten people were hit by bullets, while others were injured or injured in the ensuing chaos.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, and authorities said a magazine stuck in the gun could have saved lives.
Authorities identified James as a person of interest on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday, after an investigation linked James to the crime in many ways, Mayor Eric Adams said James was considered a suspected and wanted fugitive.
The decision was made overnight after more than 18 hours of investigation, which included videos, cell phone data and witness interviews.
“There was a clear desire to create terror,” Adams said. “If you bring a smoke bomb or you bring an automatic weapon with a gas mask and in a very methodical way injured … innocent New Yorkers, that’s horrible.”
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While the cameras at the station were not working, law enforcement officers were able to obtain an image of the suspect from a video on a mobile phone of a random person. New York police then found a U-Haul van on the Kings Highway in Gravesend, for which James said he was driving to New York from Philadelphia on Monday.
They said the pillow inside was accused of possibly sleeping there, and the nearby metro station was where they thought he had entered the system.
The keys to the van were found in the shooter’s possession left at the subway station, said NYPD chief of detectives James Essig.
Also found at the scene were a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, three extended cartridges, an ax, petrol, four smoke grenades (two detonated and two unexploded) and a consumer-class fireworks bag, as well as a credit card used by the authorities to hire U -Howl. The gun was purchased from a Ohio commodity store in 2011, the ATF found.
The gun and the purchase of a gas mask on eBay are among the evidence that elevated James from a person of interest to a suspect, sources said.
Investigators also found it more convenient to call James a suspect after re-examining witnesses who initially described the shooter’s height, which did not match James’s 6-foot 2-meter frame.
Phantom Fireworks confirmed in a statement that James had bought products in Wisconsin that were believed to have been abandoned at 36 Street Subway Station.
At this early stage of the investigation, authorities did not find any meaningful arrests for a crime in James’s critical history, but only a number of criminal charges.
“At the moment, we still don’t know the motivation of the suspect,” Sewell said. “Apparently this person got on the train and intended to commit violence.
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James ‘obscene social media posts appear to be highly critical of the mayor for his homeless policies, including videos full of racist and sexist insults and controversy over Adams’ crackdown on subway people.
Mayor Adams appeared in “Good Morning America” on Wednesday and said authorities were considering using state-of-the-art metal detectors in the city’s subway system.
“These aren’t the traditional metal detectors you see at airports,” Adams said. “Technology has advanced so much. Come to think of it, we have not advanced with technology. Cities … when it comes to better protecting citizens, I am open to all technologies.”
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