New York subway shooting: 62-year-old ‘person of interest’ identified; what we know about him so far

The New York Police Department has named Frank R James as the ‘person of interest’ in connecting to the shooting. He had rented a truck, the keys to which were found at the crime scene

FP Explainers April 13, 2022 09:54:34 IST
New York subway shooting: 62-year-old ‘person of interest’ identified; what we know about him so far

Frank R James has not been named as a suspect, but as a person of interest in the New York subway shooting. Image Courtesy: @NYPDnews/Twitter

It was a morning of terror in New York’s Brooklyn on Tuesday. An attack at the 36th Street subway stop in Sunset Park left more than 20 injured after a man released two smoke grenades and started shooting. The New York police have launched a manhunt for a “person of interest”. It is not certain if he is the attacker yet, the police said.

What do we know so far about him?

Frank R James, 62, was named a “person of interest” in the shooting incident. He was wearing a neon-orange vest and a grey sweatshirt. However, he has not yet been identified as a suspect.

Officials told CNN that they are looking for James who has addresses in both Wisconsin and Philadelphia. He had reportedly rented a truck that was found in Brooklyn; the keys to it were found at the crime scene.

"We are endeavouring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any," New York Police Department chief of detectives James Essig told the media at a press conference. “The two crime scenes, the subway and the van, are very active and are still being processed.”

“Mr James is just a person of interest we know right now who rented that U-Haul van in Philadelphia,” Essig clarified. “The keys to that U-Haul van was found in the subway in our shooter's possessions. We don’t know right now if Mr James has any connection to the subway. That’s still under investigation.”

However, New York police commissioner Keechant Sewell said that citizens should call with any information they had on James.

Investigators also found a Glock handgun, three extended magazines, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, and a hatchet at the crime scene.

New York subway shooting 62yearold person of interest identified what we know about him so far

A person is aided in a subway car in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday after the shooting. More than 20 people have been injured. Will B Wylde via AP

Troubling YouTube videos

James has reportedly posted several videos on social media in recent years, according to a report in The New York Times. Some of them included long rants in which is expressed bigoted views and, more recently, slammed the policies of New York City mayor Eric Adams.

The police released a screenshot of James taken from a YouTube video posted by a channel belonging to the username prophetoftruth88.

The videos featured a man — who appeared to be the same in a picture released by the police — delivering extended tirades, many of them overtly concerned with race and violence, often tying those subjects in with current events, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the policies of Adams. Two law enforcement officials said that James was the person featured in the channel’s videos, according to the NYT report.

In a 1 March video posted on YouTube, the man on screen criticised Adams for policies on public safety in the subway, which focused on the homeless. He also talked about how easy it was to commit a crime in the subway, saying that even with numerous police officers deployed, “I’d still get off”, the NYT report says.

“He can’t stop no crime in no subways,” the man said referring to the mayor, using many expletives. “He may slow it down but he ain’t stopping it.”

A $50,000 reward

While the New York mayor’s security would be beefed up
in light of the videos, agencies in the city are offering a joint $50,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the suspect involved, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said in a statement.

The MTA and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 both offered $12,500 each in reward money and the New York City Police Foundation offered $25,000 in reward money to bring the total reward offering to $50,000, reports CNN.

“We are doing everything we can to catch the man responsible for this heinous attack on our riders,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said in the news release. “New Yorkers know that if they see something, they should say something, especially in this case. Justice must be served.”

According to police officials, the shooting is not being investigated as an act of terror at this stage.

With inputs from agencies

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