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Police Arrest Person of Interest in NYC Subway Shooting, City Faces 'Continued Increase of Violent Crimes'

04-13-2022
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This image provided by the New York City Police Department shows a Crime Stoppers bulletin displaying photos of Frank R. James, who has been identified by police as a person of interest. (Courtesy of NYPD via AP)
This image provided by the New York City Police Department shows a Crime Stoppers bulletin displaying photos of Frank R. James, who has been identified by police as a person of interest. (Courtesy of NYPD via AP)

New York police say they've arrested the man who was wanted for questioning in the Brooklyn subway shooting that wounded 10 people. 

The person of interest they were searching for in connection with Tuesday's mass shooting is named Frank R. James, a 62-year-old who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.

James was arrested in Manhattan on Wednesday. NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig had said they're trying to "determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any."

A U-Haul van parked near the station is believed to be connected to James. Police said keys to the van were found at the shooting scene, along with a credit card used to rent the vehicle in Philadelphia.

"If in fact the gun, the credit card and the U-Haul are all linked to one person. You may well have this mass shooter," said ABC News Contributor and Former FBI Agent Brad Garrett.

Investigators stressed that they are not sure whether James is responsible for the shooting. The Associated Press reports that authorities are looking into videos he is believed to have posted online describing America as racist and violent. Several of the videos mention the New York subways, and James rails against NY Mayor Eric Adams. In one video he reportedly talks about wanting to kill people.

The rampage unfolded Tuesday morning when a passenger on the subway put on a gas mask, set off two smoke bombs and opened fire. Ten people were shot. Thankfully, all are expected to recover.
  
"I saw a lot of people coming out of the train station, one of them was injured," said a witness named Yahya Ibrahim. "I believe it was a lady, she was shot in her leg, she was bleeding all over."

Authorities said the attacker fired 33 shots with a semi-automatic handgun, wounding 10 people before the gun jammed, likely saving lives. "We are truly fortunate that this was not significantly worse than it is," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

Police are also checking neighborhood surveillance cameras but said the cameras inside the subway station itself malfunctioned.

A backpack was left behind, filled with loaded magazines, commercial-grade fireworks, and a hatchet. A Glock handgun was also recovered. 

Twenty-nine people were hospitalized with injuries ranging from gunshot wounds and smoke inhalation to falls while trying to escape. 
   
"All you see is black smoke bomb going off," explained shooting victim Houari Benkada. "This pregnant woman was in front of me. I was trying to help her. I didn't know it was shots at first. I thought it was just a smoke bomb. She said I'm pregnant and I just hugged her. I got pushed and then I got shot in the back of my knee."

The shooting comes as crime is rising in New York over the last year with a 52 percent jump in subway crime and a 36 percent rise overall.

"We're seeing a continued increase of violent crimes; shootings, murders, rapes, robberies, thefts, and more generally just a culture of lawlessness," said Zack Smith, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

On CBN's Faith Nation, Prof. Ralph Cilento from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Lieutenant Commander Detective with the NYPD, said the problem is due to the city's political atmosphere.
   
"We had this soft approach on crime," said Cilento. "And it really comes back to the political landscape. Some of it has to do with the fact that the police don't feel like they're supported. Some of it has to do with the election of certain district attorneys, certain mayoral candidates."

Meanwhile, police are still investigating a motive for the shooting and maintain that nothing, including terrorism, is being ruled out.

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