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New York subway shooter arrested: what do we know about the man?

A suspect had been seen dressed like a transit worker in an orange vest and was thought to have committed the attack, shooting at least ten victims and fleeing the scene.

A New York Police Officer of the anti terrorism unit prepares to inspect a jacket left in a train as he patrols the 36th St. subway station, a day after a shooting incident took place in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., April 13, 2022.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

At least ten people were shot and more injured in New York City on Tuesday when a gunman opened fire in a busy subway carriage at around 8:30am. No immediate arrest was made but by Wednesday, the suspect, 62-year-old Frank James, was taken into custody in Manhattan, WNBC in New York reported citing sources after the New York Police Department were engaged in a massive manhunt to find the perpetrator.

First responders had been called to the 36th Street station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in response to reports of smoke coming from the location. It was quickly apparent that a major attack had taken place although James had fled the scene.

Who was the New York subway attack suspect, Frank Robert James?

Reports issued by police are that Frank Robert James has ties to both Philadelphia and Wisconsin as well as to New York itself. With a past criminal record in New Jersey that includes three arrests on charges related to petit larceny and disorderly conduct in 2007 and trespassing in 1992, he has no reported history with the level of violence that he’s suspected of in this attack.

James has, however, been said to have made ‘terroristic threats’ before although investigators said the threats were like those commonly made by people who are emotionally disturbed.

He was said to have been carrying a “school bag” at the time of the attack, which is thought to be a rucksack or similar small piece of personal luggage.

The following was posted shortly before James’ arrest.

What were the reports immediately following the attack?

There were claims that he was wearing an green construction-type vest, similar to the type worn by workers. He is thought to have been wearing dark blue trousers, or potentially overalls, under the vest, suggesting that he was attempting to evade detection by blending in with the transit workers who are a common site at subway stations.

The New York Times reports: “A senior law enforcement official said that the police were seeking a heavyset man with a gas mask and an orange construction vest who had been wearing a dark blue outfit that appeared to resemble that of a transit worker.”

The description of what appears to have been a disguise could be crucial to understanding more about the suspect and the motivation behind the attack.

Attempting to blend in with the surroundings, combined with the use of smoke bombs, suggest that the perpetrator has put a considerable amount of thought into the attack and in his escape. Likewise it is thought that he boarded the subway carriage at 25th Street and began shooting as the train approached 36th Street station, allowing him to make a quick escape once the train had pulled into the station.


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