45.4 F
Washington D.C.
Saturday, December 3, 2022

Brooklyn Subway Shooter Posted About Mass Shootings on YouTube Prior to Attack

The suspect sought following the shooting on a subway train car in Brooklyn was arrested Wednesday afternoon, a day after the attack. Frank R. James, 62, was taken into custody in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood. He has since been charged.

On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at approximately 8:30 a.m., inside the N line subway train car at the 36th Street and 4th Ave subway train station, numerous gunshots were fired causing serious injuries to ten victims.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) had announced a joint reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. The agency and the union pledged $12,500 each for a combined total reward of $25,000 added to an existing $25,000 reward from the New York Police Foundation.

Then on April 13, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced that James had been charged with conducting a terrorist or other violent attack on a mass transportation vehicle.  

The media has conflicting reports as to who ultimately brought James down, with some suggesting he turned himself in. But John DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York said the arrest “was in large part due to the vigilance and a concerted effort by New Yorkers to aid law enforcement in the apprehension of violent criminals”. DeVito went on to applaud the public’s engagement and participation in providing vital information to apprehend James.

New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell also thanked New Yorkers for “their vigilance and their help in taking this violent criminal off our streets.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office statement said James used a Glock 17 pistol that he purchased in Ohio to conduct a mass shooting on the N subway train in Brooklyn.  James, dressed in an orange reflective jacket, yellow hard hat, and surgical mask, set off a smoke-emitting device in one of the train cars before firing at subway riders.  James had arrived in New York earlier that day in a rental van driven from Pennsylvania.  He parked the van on Kings Highway, approximately two blocks from the entrance to an N-train station, near where the shooting took place.  After the attack, James abandoned a bag containing, among other items, fireworks, a plastic container containing gasoline, and a torch.

In videos he posted publicly on YouTube before the attack, James made various statements about the New York City subway system.  Among other things, James addressed statements to New York City’s mayor: “What are you doing, brother?  What’s happening with this homeless situation?” and “Every car I went to wa[s] loaded with homeless people.  It was so bad, I couldn’t even stand.”  James also made statements, in sum and substance, about various conspiracy theories, including that: “And so the message to me is: I should have gotten a gun, and just started shooting motherf—ers.” 

James’ YouTube account was terminated on Wednesday for “violating Community Guidelines”. It had more than 400 posts under the moniker Prophet of Truth 88.

Following the attack, members of law enforcement executed court-authorized search warrants for properties associated with James in Pennsylvania.  Agents recovered, among other items: 9mm ammunition; a threaded 9mm pistol barrel, which allows for a silencer or suppresser to be attached;.223 caliber ammunition, which is used with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle; a taser; a high-capacity rifle magazine; and a blue smoke cannister. 

If convicted, James faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Anyone with information about Mr. James or this incident is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI. Digital tips may also be submitted by visiting www.fbi.gov/brooklynshooting.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

Related Articles

Latest Articles