Frank R. James, Suspect in NYC Subway Shooting, Arrested

Police have apprehended a Frank R. James, the 62-year-old who was named a suspect in the April 12 shooting at a New York City subway that left at least 16 people injured, 10 from gunshot wounds.

Law enforcement officials told CNN Wednesday that James has been arrested. NYPD added that they would provide details of James’ arrest at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. ABC News reports that James was apprehended near St. Marks Place and First Avenue in the East Village section of Manhattan after people in the area alerted authorities that James was seen walking around in the area.

James, who had addresses in both Wisconsin and Philadelphia, was a prolific social media user, regularly uploading lengthy, often racist rants to YouTube and Facebook. The videos that James appeared to upload touched on an array of topics and included such titles as “why we need more racial profiling,” “should the black woman be forcibly sterilized,” and “TO KILL OR NOT TO KILL.” 

In a video dated March 2, James even used a news segment on recent subway attacks to hammer New York City Mayor Eric Adams and his policies against crime and homelessness, ostensibly implying that his struggles are the direct result of the failures of NYC social services. After railing against various social services groups — while often using homophobic and anti-Semitic language — James mocked Adams’ subway safety plan, saying, “He can’t stop no fucking crime in no subways… With all these police — I’d still get off.”

The shooting happened the morning of April 12 as a Manhattan-bound N train was between the 59th and 36th Street stops around the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park. When the train pulled up at 36th street, victims poured onto the platform as smoke billowed out of the train car. Police say James released a smoke canister before opening fire.

One NYPD source told Rolling Stone that police error may have allowed James to flee the station afterwards: The local deputy captain of a Brooklyn South patrol reportedly did not freeze all trains in and out of the 36th Street station, allowing James to get away. The NYPD, however, rebuffed this claim, saying, “This statement is factually inaccurate… The victims on the train relied on the subway moving to the next stop to get to safety, and seek help.”

Efforts to apprehend James were further hampered by the fact that at least one security camera at the 36th Street subway station, which might have captured the scene, was not working. One witness, Andrew Hinderaker, a photo editor at The New York Times, additionally noted that during the panic at the station, an officer had to ask subway passengers to call 911 because his radio wasn’t working. 

The attack came amid a rise in violent crimes on the subways, although these incidents have notably coincided with rising NYPD presence in subway stations. At the start of the year, under the direction of Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, over 1,000 additional cops were deployed to patrol the subways, largely as part of a plan to stop unhoused people from sleeping in stations and on trains. Houseless people, however, have been responsible for very few of the recent violent crimes on the subway. 

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