Editor’s warning: The footage embedded in this story is extremely graphic and includes audio of an apparent gunshot victim, who was wounded.
Days after New York City subway shooter pleaded guilty to federal charges, a federal judge released videos of the convicted terrorist’s post-arrest interview and phone-camera footage by one of the victims.
In the latter footage, the person identified in court papers only as “Victim-1” tells a wounded train passenger crying out in pain to “stay low.”
“Victim-1” then whisks the wounded passenger off the train and onto the platform. From there, the victim shot more footage of the chaotic scene.
“The video shows multiple people laying prone on the subway platform bleeding and crying out for help,” the prosecution’s description of the footage states. “A subway worker then starts yelling for the passengers to board the R train across the platform and asks: ‘did anyone see what happened?'”
Responding “yes,” the victim who recorded the incident describes the scene of the attack, including witnessing an “explosion bomb” with “black smoke” and “popping sound” from the other end of the train next to a construction worker “with orange clothes on.”
The man with the orange clothes was the shooter: Frank Robert James, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 11 federal charges. The first 10 were terrorism counts for each of the victims whom James wounded with his 9mm semi-automatic handgun in April 2022. None of them died.
In addition, James set off two smoke grenades on the second car of the Manhattan-bound subway train in Brooklyn in April 2022. Prosecutors say that he left a wealth of evidence tying himself to the attack, including a gun purchased under his full name, fireworks with explosives designed to spew black powder, and a plastic container containing gasoline. They also found a torch, a U-Haul key, and multiple bank cards.
The FBI believes that James tried to scratch off the serial number on his Glock.
“Marks on the serial number on the firearm appear to reflect that an attempt was made to deface the serial number,” the agency’s affidavit states.
The victim taped the first video in the immediate aftermath of the 8:26 a.m. attack
After being taken to the hospital, the victim spoke to a New York City Police Officer about the scene and James, describing a “Black” and “heavy set” man wearing an “orange vest,” “possible construction hat” and other details of his clothing.
The victim said that the man, James, “had a black rolling suitcase and a white bag with him — and then, a minute or two later, dropped a canister and appeared to yell “Oh, shit.”
“According to Victim-1, the subway then began to fill with smoke and he heard what sounded like fireworks followed by screams,” the government’s memo states.
The FBI later interviewed “Victim-1” after the NYPD.
Before his guilty plea, James tried to suppress the videos, but prosecutors argued for their admission, calling them “independently reliable.”
Now 63 years old, James admitted to charges that give him a sentencing guidelines range that would effectively put him away for life: roughly 31 to 37 years behind bars. Federal prosecutors, however, advised U.S. District Judge William Kuntz that they plan to seek an above guidelines sentence.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]