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NYPD identifies a person of interest in the Brooklyn subway shooting

New York Police Department on Tuesday identified Frank James as a person of interest in the subway shooting investigation. Officials say the 62-year-old rented a U-Haul van linked to the shooting, which has injured nearly two dozen people.
NYPD
New York Police Department on Tuesday identified Frank James as a person of interest in the subway shooting investigation. Officials say the 62-year-old rented a U-Haul van linked to the shooting, which has injured nearly two dozen people.

Updated April 12, 2022 at 8:14 PM ET

The New York Police Department said it has identified a person of interest in the subway car shooting that left 10 people shot in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning.

Chief James Essig told reporters that a cache of weapons was recovered at the scene, including guns, ammunition, a hatchet, gasoline and a pair of keys to a U-Haul van. Investigators found the vehicle parked in Brooklyn and have since linked it to a man named Frank R. James, who appears to have rented it in Philadelphia.

Essig described James as a 62-year-old man "with addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia."

"We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any," he said.

Essig offered several new details about the shooting, which occurred just before 8:30 a.m.

"As that N train was between stations at 59th Street and 36th Street, seated in the second car, in the rear corner was a dark skin male," Essig said during an evening press conference. "As the train pulled into the station, witness say the man opened up two smoke grenades, brandishes a Glock 9mm handgun he then fired that weapon at least 33 times."

Members of the New York Police Department and emergency vehicles crowd the streets after at least 13 people were injured during a rush-hour shooting at a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Members of the New York Police Department and emergency vehicles crowd the streets after 16 people were hurt during a rush-hour attack at a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn on Tuesday.

While investigators have received a variety of descriptions of the shooter's height, officials said witness accounts confirm he was wearing an orange and green construction-style nylon vest. He also had on a grey hoodie, a surgical mask and a neon green construction helmet.

Earlier in the day, officials said the gunman had put on a gas mask before setting off the smoke cannisters then opened fire striking multiple people on the subway and on the platform.

Officials say they are still searching for a motive in the attack.

They are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to James.

Police and emergency responders gather at the site of a reported shooting of multiple people outside of Brooklyn's 36 Street subway station on Tuesday.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Police and emergency responders gather at the site of a reported shooting of 10 people at Brooklyn's 36 Street Subway Station on Tuesday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said New Yorkers' "sense of tranquility and normalness was disrupted — brutally disrupted — by an individual so cold-hearted and depraved of heart that they had no caring about the individuals that they assaulted."

WNYC broadcast engineer Juliana Fonda said she was on the N train when she heard the shots.

"People were pounding and looking behind them, running, trying to get onto the train," Fonda said. "The door locked between cars and the people behind us, there were a lot of loud pops and there was smoke in the other car."

A handful of nearby schools went into lockdown following the gunfire, including PS 24.

Alexandra Miranda, a 7-year-old student at the elementary school, recalled the scene in her classroom, telling NPR, "They had to shut all of the doors and teachers couldn't go in or out because something was happening outside."

The incident on Tuesday adds to a jump in violent crime in the subway during the pandemic, while subway ridership remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Earlier, published reports cited fire officials and law enforcement sources saying several undetonated devices were also found. Sewell told reporters that there are currently no known explosive devices on subway trains.

New Yorkers have been warned to avoid the Sunset Park area. Following the shooting, power was shut off on various lines, and major delays were expected throughout the city.

This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene, and we will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.