Police have released the photo of a man they are searching for in connection with a mass subway shooting in Sunset Park on Tuesday morning which left ten people with gunshot wounds, five of them critical, and 13 others injured.
The gunman set off two spoke grenades in an N train at Sunset Park’s 36th Street subway station around 8:30am before opening fire and shooting 33 rounds, police said.
Police have identified Frank R. James, 62, as a “person of interest” and are calling for the public’s help in finding him. “We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any,” Chief James Essig, the NYPD’s chief of detectives, said in a news conference on Tuesday.
Police say James rented a U-Haul van in Philadelphia which was found abandoned about five blocks from the Kings Highway station, where they say the gunman boarded the subway — around five miles from the 36th Street station.
The key to the van was found on the train with other items believed to belong to the gunman, including a Glock 9-millimeter handgun, three ammunition magazines, a hatchet, fireworks and a liquid believed to be gasoline, The New York Times reports.
According to The New York Times, James posted dozens videos of long, vitriolic rants on YouTube, where he blamed Black women for violence among Black people and said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was evidence that whites were genocidal.
Earlier on Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul said: “This is an active-shooter situation right now in the city of New York.”
Around 8:30am FDNY was called to the station due to a report of smoke, CNN reports, and discovered that a male suspect possibly wearing a gas mask and an orange construction vest had been seen fleeing the scene.
Yay Montano told CNN he was on the train headed to work when a smoke grenade or smoke bomb went off and he heard what he thought was fireworks; as the train was moving, passengers tried to flee to other cars.
“The whole car was engulfed in smoke,” he said. “I couldn’t even use my mask anymore because it was black with smoke. It was ridiculous.”
When the train got into the 36th Street station, riders rushed onto the platform, where photos show a bloody scene.
Police urged New Yorkers to avoid the area around 36th Street and 4th Avenue while the crime was investigated. The MTA was also investigating and all D, N and R trains stopped service in Brooklyn.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the mass shooting was not being investigated as a hate crime.
Mayor Eric Adams, who is currently infected with COVID-19, has been briefed on the situation and his spokesperson, Fabien Levy, wrote on Twitter:
“While we gather more information, we ask New Yorkers to stay away from this area for their safety and so that first responders can help those in need and investigate.”
This story will be updated as more information is released.