A massive multi-agency manhunt is underway for a suspect now identified in the Brooklyn subway shooting. This man was on the FBI’s terrorism watch system until 2019, as authorities seek the public’s help.
On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, during the height of the morning rush, witnesses described a “mumbling” man who came on the subway wearing a reflective vest and a gas mask. The man tossed smoke bombs into a subway car, then began shooting, ABC 7 NY reported. Authorities said the man fired off at least 33 rounds before the gun jammed.
The incident left at least 29 people injured, 10 of whom were shot. Some of the wounded were hospitalized in critical condition, but reports say none of the injuries are life-threatening.
In an unfortunate turn, surveillance cameras in the subway station, located in the vicinity of the incident, were inoperable and unable to provide footage that could have helped identify the suspect.
Police found an abandoned backpack. Inside, they discovered a Glock 9 mm handgun, three extended magazines, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet, and a key at the scene, CNN reported.
Five miles from the scene, on Kings Hwy. in Brooklyn, authorities found a rented U-Haul van. The key they found in the backpack belonged to the van, which had Arizona plates. Police traced the van and found it was rented in Philadelphia. Police obtained the identity of the man who rented the U-Haul van.
Late Tuesday, Authorities officially named a suspect, Frank R. James, a 62-year-old African-American male.
Besides the connection of James renting the U-Haul van, law enforcement officials later obtained an image of James from the cell phone video of a bystander as corroborating evidence.
A massive manhunt was launched involving multiple agencies, including the NYPD, FBI, ATF, US Marshals, etc. The NYPD made door-to-door investigations in Brooklyn seeking information, checking footage from surveillance cameras and photographs.
Authorities ask the public and anyone with information about the suspect or the incident on the subway to call the anonymous tip line at 800-577-TIPS.
ACCORDING TO A FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SOURCE WHO SPOKE TO NEWSWEEK, the FBI previously held James’ information like a person to watch within its Guardian Lead system in New Mexico.
THE DAILY MAIL REPORTED THAT the FBI’s Guardian Lead system coordinates information between its law enforcement partners regarding potentially suspicious activity and terrorism-related threats.
However, in 2019, James was removed and cleared from the system following multiple interviews.