NYC shooting injures 29

James, the alleged Brooklyn subway shooter, has been detained and charged

By Jackson Hare, Staff Writer

James, the alleged Brooklyn subway shooting suspect whose attacks left 29 injured, was arrested in New York’s East Village neighborhood. None of the victims of his attacks are expected to die from their injuries.

On April 11, 67-year-old Frank R. James detonated two smoke grenades and fired 33 bullets in a Brooklyn subway train full of morning commuters.

Police reported a total of 29 people injured during the attack, 19 of whom suffered injuries related to the smoke or panic. In what New York police officers have called “a miracle,” none of the 10 victims who were shot have died or are expected to die from their injuries.

After 33 shots were fired, the gunman’s 9-millimeter handgun jammed and prevented further action.

“If that gun didn’t jam, the probability of somebody dying is very high,” Detective Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said. 

While some attribute the phenomenon to luck, some witnesses have suggested James was aiming for lower limbs. Hourari Benkada, who sat right next to the assailant at the time of the attack and was shot through the knee, attested to this.

The motive for this attack is still unknown. However, some investigators have theorized it was related to YouTube videos James posted of himself discussing violence, mental health and mass shootings. During one of these videos, he suggested that he battles post-traumatic stress disorder. One video specifically showed James in a New York City subway car, silently pointing to other passengers. 

Members of the New York City government have perceived the shooting as an indicator for the need for significant improvement to mental health programs.

“We’re looking at people who are stating that they’re dealing with mental health issues right now, and so we have to get it right,” NYC Mayor Eric Adams said. “This is generational in the making, a broken system, but we need help also on a state level and on a federal level.”

City officials have expressed hopes to improve security in the subway systems, seeking to add technology to detect firearms. However, the scale of the subway system — an average of 4.6 million people per day — poses a significant challenge.

“It is extremely challenging to identify every person that enters the subway system because of the vastness of our system,” Adams said.

Police announced James’ arrest on April 15, extending their thanks to the public’s tips, especially to the five individuals who provided information that led to his arrest. These tipsters shared a $50,000 reward for the information. 

“The public is who we serve, but they are also often our best partner,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “We appreciate all of those who responded to our call for information to locate this suspect.”

Additionally, the city commemorated five Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers who helped people evacuate after the train finally came to a stop. This included  operators David Artis and Joseph Franchi, conductors Raven Haynes and Dayron Williams and bus operator Parla Mejia.

“You stayed calm, stayed focused, and you saved lives,” Adams said, honoring their actions after the shooting. “Thanks to you, no passenger was left behind.”

James was arrested last Wednesday after he called to inform the police of his location. He was charged with a federal terrorism offense.