Who Is Frank R. James? Brooklyn Subway Attack Suspect Named

The New York City Police Department announced that 62-year-old Frank R. James of Philadelphia and Wisconsin is a suspect in Tuesday morning's subway attack in Brooklyn.

At a Tuesday evening press conference, Police said James rented a van found parked on a New York street. Police initially only identified him as a person of interest, saying they wanted to question him in connection with the attack. However, on Wednesday morning, New York City Mayor Eric Adams told WNYC James was now a suspect.

Adams said James became a suspect because of "new information" that became available, although he did not share specifics about that information.

Seven men and three women were shot Tuesday at the 36th Street and Fourth Avenue subway station in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, police said. Thirteen other people were injured by falling, smoke inhalation, or panic attacks.

There is a $50,000 reward, according, to police, who ask anyone with information to call Crimestoppers.

Officials initially described the suspect as a Black male who is 5-foot-5 with a heavy build. He was reportedly donning a green construction vest when the shooting occurred and police were searching for a U-Haul truck with Arizona plates.

The shooting began in a subway car, according to New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. The suspect also put a gas mask on and opened a gas canister, filling the subway car with smoke.

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Frank R. James, 62, of Philadelphia and Wisconsin is a person of interest in Tuesday morning's subway attack in Brooklyn, New York. NYPD Crimestoppers

The incident occurred during New York City's morning rush hour, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reported delays on the train lines that used the station due to the investigation. An Education Department spokesperson also reported that schools in the area were put under "shelter in place" protocol.

The subway shooting came as New York City has experienced an increase in violent gun crime. According to NYPD statistics, shooting incidents rose to 296 from 260 in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same period last year. After historic gun violence lows in 2018 and 2019, those numbers have seen an uptick since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York City has also experienced a surge in subway crimes. According to the NYPD, the city had 461 felony assaults in the subways in 2021, an increase of 100 from 2020.

On Tuesday, Adams attempted to reassure New Yorkers after the shooting, telling CNN that the subway was a safe method of transportation. He also vowed to find the suspect, a task that may have been made more difficult because of the lack of working security cameras.

Adams confirmed on Tuesday that a preliminary review indicated that the camera system at the subway station malfunctioned.

"We're going to make sure that we actively and aggressively identify the person and go after the person who was responsible," Adams told CNN. "Together, we're going to navigate this crisis that hit our subway system."

Officials did not share a motive for the shooting but said they are not ruling anything out. In the wake of the shooting, Adams said he was going to increase the police presence at subway stations.

Since James was named as a person of interest, multiple videos he recorded and uploaded on YouTube have been found. James discussed violence, mass shootings and race in the clips. He also leveled much criticism at Adams, saying that the mayor and others contributed to his mental health problems.

James mentioned in a video that he was once a patient at one of the area New York Behavioral Health clinics and claimed he left the facility with more issues than when he arrived.

"We're not calling them threats. He made some concerning posts, or someone made some concerning posts," Sewell said of the videos. "They were general topics of concern. Complaints about homelessness, complaints about New York."

Update 4/13/22, 8:53 a.m. ET: This article and headline were updated to reflect that Frank R. James is now considered a suspect.

Update 4/13/22, 9:38 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include details of YouTube videos posted by James.

The New York City Police Department announced that 62-year-old Frank R. James of Philadelphia and Wisconsin is a suspect in Tuesday morning's subway attack in Brooklyn. Above, members of the NYPD investigate the attack on an Uptown 4 subway after an emergency brake was pulled near Union Square on April 12, 2022. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)