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NYC subway shooting updates: Suspect in custody, charged with terror-related offenses


(NEW YORK) — Frank James, the man wanted for allegedly opening fire on a rush-hour subway train in Brooklyn, shooting 10 people, was taken into custody in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon, officials said, ending an over 24-hour-long search.

“We got him,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced at a Wednesday news conference.

The NYPD received a tip saying the suspect was in the East Village, in a McDonald’s at 6th Street and 1st Avenue, police said. Responding officers didn’t see him in the McDonald’s, but they drove around the area and spotted James near St. Marks Place and 1st Avenue, where he was taken into custody without incident around 1:45 p.m. ET, police said.

James, 62, may have called police on himself, according to sources. Among the calls to Crime Stoppers was reportedly someone who said: “I think you’re looking for me. I’m seeing my picture all over the news, and I’ll be around this McDonalds.”

An NYPD official said police are reviewing the 911 call.

Once taken into custody, James asked for a lawyer and didn’t speak to officers, according to law enforcement sources.

James has been charged by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn with terror-related offenses, officials said, and has been transferred to federal custody.

James, wanted for the attempted murder of 10 people, was the subject of an intense search by the U.S. Marshals Service and other federal and local agencies.

In the chaos after the Tuesday morning shooting at the 36th Street subway station, James eluded law enforcement by boarding an R train that pulled into the station and traveling one stop before exiting at the 25th Street station, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig. After that, James was seen again at a Park Slope subway stop at 9:15 a.m. before fading from view, Essig said.

The “active shooter” incident unfolded on a Manhattan-bound N subway just before 8:30 a.m. as the train approached the 36th Street station.

A man mumbling to himself on the train donned a gas mask and detonated a smoke canister before pulling out a handgun and firing 33 bullets, a police official told ABC News. Three teenagers were among the 10 people shot.

The gun jammed during the incident, which is believed to have saved lives, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

Smoke poured out of the subway car as the doors opened and screaming riders ran out onto the platform of the station. Bloodied people were seen lying on the floor of the train and the platform.

Twenty-nine people suffered various injuries, hospital officials said. As of Wednesday morning, just four of the wounded remained hospitalized, according to Adams.

“Based on the preliminary investigation, we believe he was alone,” Adams told ABC News in an interview Wednesday on “Good Morning America.”

“We still do not know the suspect’s motivation,” New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference Tuesday evening. “Clearly this individual boarded the train and was intent on violence.”

The Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun James allegedly used was purchased legally in 2011 in Ohio, law enforcement sources told ABC News. The gun, and the purchase of a gas mask on eBay, are among the pieces of evidence that elevated James from person of interest to suspect, the sources said.

Senior law enforcement officials told ABC News that they also uncovered a number of social media posts and videos tied to James and are studying them closely to see if they are relevant to the subway attack.

Sewell said she increased security for the mayor after investigators found what she called “concerning posts,” though she declined to call them “threats.”

“There are some postings possibly connected to our person of interest where he mentions homelessness, he mentions New York and he does mention Mayor Adams,” Sewell told reporters Tuesday. “And as a result of that, in an abundance of caution, we’re going to tighten the mayor’s security detail.”

Authorities are also tracking James’ whereabouts leading up to the shooting.

On Monday night, according to federal prosecutors, James accessed a storage unit with gun parts and ammunition in Philadelphia, near where he was living. According to prosecutors, police found “an empty magazine for a Glock handgun, a taser, a high-capacity rifle magazine and a blue smoke canister” in the apartment.

Prosecutors allege James rented a U-Haul van in Philadelphia on Monday. On Tuesday morning, James drove from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and then entered New York, reaching Brooklyn at about 4:11 a.m., prosecutors said.

Security cameras showed James at 6:12 a.m. Tuesday, wearing a hard hat and orange vest, two blocks away from the 36th Street station, prosecutors said. Police showed witnesses that surveillance video to identify him, according to prosecutors.

Police said the U-Haul was found Tuesday afternoon, parked near a subway station on Kings Highway in Brooklyn’s Gravesend neighborhood, about 5 miles from the 36th Street station.

The key to the van and a credit card, which law enforcement sources told ABC News was used to rent a U-Haul, were among the gunman’s possessions recovered from the shooting scene. Other items discovered at the scene of the shooting include the gun used in the attack, three extended magazines, a hatchet, gasoline, four smoke grenades and a bag of consumer-grade fireworks.

Phantom Fireworks, a company in Wisconsin, confirmed that James bought fireworks products there last year that were believed to have been left behind in the subway station.

None of the surveillance cameras inside the 36th Street subway station were working at the time of Tuesday’s shooting, a police official told ABC News. The cameras, which are aimed at the turnstiles, didn’t transmit in real-time due to a glitch computer malfunction, a source said. The same glitch impacted cameras at the stops before and after 36th Street. Investigators said they are looking into how this malfunction happened.

However, the cameras at the Kings Highway subway station in Gravesend were transmitting live feeds in real-time. That’s where investigators believe James entered the subway Tuesday morning, just blocks from where the U-Haul van was parked and eight subway stops away from the 36th Street station.

Police were able to get an image of the suspect from a bystander’s cellphone video, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

“The fact that these cameras are not working is a large concern,” Brooklyn borough president Antonio Reynoso told ABC News Live on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of work to do in the city now to check every camera, make sure they’re all working, and also a deeper dive into what happened and what we can do in the future to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

Subway service at the 36th Street station resumed Wednesday morning.

The bloodshed came amid a surge in crime within New York City’s transit system. The mayor said he has already doubled the number of police officers patrolling the city’s subway stations and is also considering installing special metal detectors in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting.

But Reynoso said, “More cops is not necessarily going to solve for this problem.”

“I think there are root causes to this violence that exists, mostly mental health at this point, is what we’re seeing in New York City. And that’s where we should be spending resources and energy,” Reynoso said. “More cops to respond to a crime won’t necessarily stop the crime. In this case, this individual was inside a train car — unless you believe that you can put a police officer in every single train car in New York City, which is physically impossible … that’s not the way we’re going to solve that issue.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Wednesday, “The epidemic of gun violence that continues to terrorize communities across this country must end. My pledge to New Yorkers is this: I will fight every day to restore public safety, get guns off our streets, and prevent these horrific acts of violence.”

Anyone with information, videos or photos related to the shooting is urged to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

ABC News’ Luke Barr, Mark Crudele, Alex Hosenball, Joshua Hoyos, Soo Rin Kim and Christopher Looft contributed to this report.

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