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NYPD Names Suspect in Brooklyn Subway Train Mass Shooting

Frank Robert James.

Frank Robert James.

Update – 2:43 p.m.: Police announced that they arrested Frank Robert James, 62.

Our original article is below.


The person of interest in a mass shooting on a New York City subway is now the suspect. Frank Robert James, 62, is the man who opened fire on an N-train car during rush hour on Tuesday morning, according to the NYPD.

A shooter, armed with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, set off two smoke grenades on the second car of a Manhattan-bound N train while it was heading from the 59th Street station to the 36th Street station, all within the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, officers said in a press conference later Tuesday.

He shot 10 people and fled, police said. 13 people received injuries from smoke inhalation, falling down, or panic attack, Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

“We are truly fortunate that this was not significantly worse than it is,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

At the time, cops only described the suspect as a dark-skinned man with a neon orange vest and gray-colored sweatshirt. Police said they found objects including the handgun, three extended magazines, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet, a bag containing consumer-grade fireworks, and–most pivotally–U-Haul keys. Authorities traced this to a U-Haul van in Brooklyn that they think is connected to the suspect.

On Tuesday, they only named James as a person of interest, saying he rented the vehicle in Philadelphia.

“We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any,” Essig said.

Police have said that James has had addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.

James reportedly posting rambling monologues on social media accounts—including YouTube and Facebook—on subjects like race, crime, and government. He recently commented on the recent confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will become the next associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer. The situation of Black people in America is a particularly focus in the videos. James asserted there was no place for Black people in the United States.

“The main thing about the story of Black people in this country is that there is nothing fucking over here,” he said in a video dated Monday, the day before the shooting. “No, n*****, you’re not free. You’re not at home.”

In another video in which he uttered antisemitic remarks, he suggested that Black people would one day face genocide much like Jewish people, who he said hypocritically had “contempt” for Black people.

“Basically, what you’re looking at is your future,” said James. “When you’re looking at a German Jew in Nazi Germany, you’re seeing your future right here in America whether you realize it or not.”

New York police announced that they raised Mayor Eric Adams’s (D) security detail, citing an abundance of caution. James has complained about Adams on social media.

In his most recent video, James started by pontificating about a man who begged for mercy from the court after pleading guilty to murdering a woman and shooting her boyfriend in the head during a robbery (see here for more about the 2016 case). James, who is now accused of opening fire on a subway car full of people, voiced outrage at the man’s emotional apology.

“After murdering one child, and damn near killing another one. Now he’s sorry when he’s facing life without parole,” James said, sounding incredulous.

[Image via New York Police Department]

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