UPDATED 2:25 p.m. ET April 13: Frank R. James, the man suspected of carrying out a mass shooting on a subway train in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning was captured by police Wednesday while hiding in the East Village.
A gunman who opened fire causing multiple injuries and mayhem on a packed Manhattan-bound train in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning was still on the run Wednesday as New York City Mayor Eric Adams vowed to capture him while describing the attack as part of a national “cult of death” that he blamed on the nation's gun laws.
“You know I have been realistic and outspoken in my commitment to public safety. I stand by that and will continue to do everything in my power to dam the rivers that feed the sea of violence,” Adams said at a press conference Tuesday night. “This is not only a New York City problem, this rage, this violence, these guns, these relentless shooters are an American problem. It is going to take all levels of government to solve it. It is going to take the entire nation to speak out and push back against the cult of death that has taken over in this nation.”
Authorities announced that they were seeking the public’s help in locating 62-year-old Philadelphia resident, Frank R. James, as a person of interest in the subway attack that left at least 23 people injured.
A federal law enforcement source told Newsweek that the FBI was previously alerted about James, but following interviews in 2019 the agency determined he wasn't a threat.
New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the shooting, which occurred at approximately 8:24 a.m. on a Manhattan-bound N train in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, said 10 of the injured suffered gunshot wounds while others got injured while trying to exit the subway in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Some victims suffered smoke inhalation from two smoke bombs that were detonated on the train.
“We are truly fortunate that this is not significantly worse than it is,” Sewell said. “As we reported this afternoon, a man who was traveling on a Manhattan bound N train opened two canisters that dispensed smoke throughout the subway car. He then shot multiple passengers as the train pulled into the 36th Street Station in Sunset Park.”
Sewell also noted that “none of the injuries appear to be life threatening,” which she called “good news.”
The New York Police Department’s Chief of Detectives James Essig said seven men and three women were injured by gunfire and were all treated at area hospitals. He further noted that the suspected shooter, who was wearing a surgical mask, a grey hoodie, and a neon green construction helmet, was seated in the rear corner of the second car of the N train when he went on the shooting rampage by opening fire on unsuspecting passengers at least 33 times.
Among the evidence collected from the scene was a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, extended magazines and a hatchet. Investigators also found what appears to be gasoline, a bag containing consumer-grade fireworks and keys to a U-Haul which led investigators to a U-Haul that was rented by James.
“We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting if any,” said Essig, who noted that evidence from both the subway and the van were still being processed.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the apprehension of the suspected shooter and mobile alerts were sent out on Wednesday morning urging New Yorkers to be on the lookout for James.
“We’re asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. We know this incident is of grave concern to New Yorkers. We cannot lose sight of victims in this city. We will use every resource we can to bring those to justice who continue to prey on the citizens of New York,” Sewell said.
Mayor Adams, who spent a significant portion of his speech lamenting America’s culture of gun violence, said it has become “a cult that allows innocence to be sacrificed on a daily basis.”
“There are over 400 million guns in this country alone. The U.S. gun homicide rate is 26 times that of other high-income countries where over 100 people die of gun violence every day,” he said.
He added that guns are the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers and highlighted past mass shootings such as events in Columbine, Colorado, and Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut.
“These killers have used weapons of mass destruction to massacre innocent people. They control no armies or military forces yet these individual killers terrorize our nation. I’ve often said that this city is not going to adapt to dysfunction. Ending gun violence means changing gun laws. We cannot clean up a flood when the water is still pouring into the basement. And we can never stop the killing if we cannot stop the guns,” Adams said.
“To be clear, we will not surrender our city to the violent few and will not surrender all of America to this cult of death. The sea of violence comes from many rivers. We must dam every river that feeds the greater crisis. That is the work of my life, this administration, and this police department. And we are not stopping until the peace we deserve becomes the reality we experience,” he added.
“You have my word as a former police officer, fellow New Yorker and your mayor, we’ll end this epidemic and will capture this individual responsible for today’s attack. We will capture him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law.”