Suspect at large after 10 shot at Brooklyn subway station

By Maureen Chowdhury, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022
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8:44 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

U-Haul van tied to subway shooting was rented in Philadelphia yesterday, company records show 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

(John Minchillo/AP)
(John Minchillo/AP)

New York police said Tuesday that the U-Haul van they are investigating was rented by Frank James, who they named as a person of interest in the investigation. 

The van was rented on April 11 from a U-Haul store in Philadelphia, according to company records obtained by CNN.

The records show Frank James rented the van using a Wisconsin license with a Milwaukee address. 

“Mr. James is just a person of interest we know right now who rented that U-Haul van in Philadelphia,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a press conference Tuesday night. “The keys to that U-Haul van was found in the subway in our shooter's possessions. We don’t know right now if Mr. James has any connection to the subway. That’s still under investigation.”

The rental agreement obtained by CNN shows that the U-Haul reservation was made on April 6, and was scheduled to be picked up on April 11 at 2:01 p.m. ET. The van was supposed to be rented for two days, according to the reservation. 

8:55 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

NYPD seeking person of interest in Brooklyn subway shooting

The NYPD is looking for Frank James, the man who rented a U-Haul truck found near the scene of a shooting in Brooklyn. It is unclear his connection to the event. 
The NYPD is looking for Frank James, the man who rented a U-Haul truck found near the scene of a shooting in Brooklyn. It is unclear his connection to the event.  (NYPD)

The New York Police Department said they are seeking a person of interest in connection to the Brooklyn subway shooting who they believe rented the U-Haul van whose keys were found at the scene.

Police are investigating whether he has any connection to the shooting and have not named him as a suspect.

Officials say they are looking for 62-year-old Frank James who has addresses in both Wisconsin and Philadelphia. Officials believe James rented the U-Haul truck in Philadelphia that was found in Brooklyn.

"We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any," NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said during a news conference Tuesday. "The two crime scenes, the subway and the van, are very active and are still being processed."

The key of the U-Haul van was found at the crime scene in the subway, the official said, which led to the recovery of the van in Brooklyn.

“Mr. James is just a person of interest we know right now who rented that U-Haul van in Philadelphia,” Essig said. “The keys to that U-Haul van was found in the subway in our shooter's possessions. We don’t know right now if Mr. James has any connection to the subway. That’s still under investigation.”

Essig said they do not have anyone in custody at the moment related to the shooting.

"We are asking anyone's help with information. Cell phone video, witness information or if they can identify the perpetrator or the renter of this vehicle," Essig said.

The official said there is a $50,000 reward right now.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said there are possibly some social media postings connected to James in which he mentions homelessness, New York and Mayor Eric Adams. Out of an abundance of caution, Adams’ security detail will be heightened, Sewell said.

The NYPD is asking the public to send any information about the person of interest by calling 1-800-577-TIPS.

CNN’s Rob Frehse and Laura Ly contributed reporting to this post.

8:42 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Brooklyn subway shooting victim helped passenger who was shot in the leg: "I literally dodged many bullets"

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Claire Tunkel, 46, told CNN she took off her jacket and tied it around the leg of a man who suffered a gunshot wound from Tuesday's subway shooting in Brooklyn.

Tunkel, who went to the hospital for smoke inhalation, said several gunshot victims were laying on the floor of the subway platform after the train arrived at the station. 

"One of the guys who was shot, his leg was bleeding pretty bad, so I took off my jacket and tied it around his leg," she said.

Tunkel was in the subway car where the shooting took place and described the scene as chaotic. While she couldn't see anything because of the smoke, she said she heard people crying out for help and others who said they were bleeding. 

"You couldn't see anything, but you could feel it," she said. People were rushing to the front of the car, and some fell to the ground, she noted. "You could feel the bodies."  

Tunkel said she's physically fine, but still pretty shook. 

"I literally dodged many bullets today. That's huge, that's a big thing to digest," she said.

7:27 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Brooklyn subway shooter fired gun 33 times, striking at least 10 people, official says

From CNN's Rob Frehse

The suspect in the Brooklyn shooting opened smoke grenades on the train and fired his gun 33 times, striking at least 10 people Tuesday morning, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig announced.

Later at the scene, investigators found a Glock handgun, three extended magazines, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades and a hatchet, Essig added.

Essig said they also found a U-Haul key at the scene which led them to the recovery of the van in Brooklyn, Essig said.

None of the injuries to the victims appear to be life-threatening, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

“We know this incident is of grave concern to New Yorkers,” Sewell said. “We cannot lose sight of victims in this city. We will use every resource we can to bring those to justice who continue to prey on the citizens of New York.”

7:11 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

NOW: Officials provide update on Brooklyn subway shooting investigation 

From CNN staff

(CNN)
(CNN)

New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and other officials are providing an update on the Brooklyn subway shooting investigation.

Ahead of the briefing, two law enforcement sources told CNN that investigators identified the shooting suspect after finding a credit card at the scene that was used to rent a U-Haul cargo van.

The U-Haul cargo van that police say is “connected with” the shooting has also been located in Brooklyn, two law enforcement officials told CNN earlier today.

The New York Police Department’s bomb squad is responding to the Brooklyn scene where the found U-Haul is, a law enforcement source tells CNN.

The shooter, who fled the scene, was described as a 5-foot-5-inch Black man with a heavy build wearing a green construction vest and a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Authorities said they discovered cellphone video from an eyewitness showing the suspect.

The shooting left at least 29 people injured, who were treated at three nearby hospitals for injuries, none of which are life-threatening, according to hospital representatives.

Of the injured, 10 people were shot, while others were treated for smoke inhalation, shrapnel and panic in the attack, FDNY First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

5:55 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

"I feel shocked": Subway shooting survivor says he was sitting next to suspect on train before being shot

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Hourari Benkada, 27, said he was sitting next to the Brooklyn subway shooting suspect on the N train Tuesday morning and was shot in the back of his knee while trying to flee. 

"I feel shocked, I feel shaky, I don't know if I can ever ride a train," Benkada, a lifelong New Yorker, told CNN after coming out of surgery. 

Benkada, a housekeeping manager at the New Yorker Hotel, said he got on the last car of the N train and sat next to a man with a duffle bag who was wearing an MTA vest.

The man sitting next to him let off a "smoke bomb" and started shooting about 20 seconds after the train took off, Benkada said. The shooting felt like it lasted for nearly two minutes, Benkada continued. 

Benkada said he was focused on helping a pregnant woman, who he feared would get hurt as people rushed to the front of the car to avoid the shooter.  

That's when he got shot, describing it as "the worst pain of my entire life."

He explained that the bullet hit him in the back of his knee and came out the other side. Doctors told him the bullet grazed his kneecap. He is expected to walk on his own after several weeks on crutches.

Benkada said he heard other people in pain but was unable to see them or the suspect because of the smoke.  

6:03 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

NYPD's bomb squad responding to location of found U-Haul in Brooklyn, source tells CNN

From CNN's Mark Morales, Shimon Prokupecz and Pervaiz Shallwani

The New York Police Department’s bomb squad is responding to the Brooklyn scene where the U-Haul “connected with” this morning's subway shooting was found, a law enforcement source tells CNN.

CNN reported earlier today that investigators in New York City were looking for a U-Haul that was allegedly connected to the subway shooting, according to internal NYPD emails viewed by CNN. The emails did not spell how the van was connected to the shooting.

Investigators also identified the suspect after finding a credit card at the scene that was used to rent the U-Haul cargo van, sources say.

Watch more:

6:22 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Investigators identified suspect after finding credit card at scene that was used to rent U-Haul, sources say

From CNN's Shimon Prokupecz and Pervaiz Shallwani

Emergency personnel form a perimeter around a U-Haul van in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12.
Emergency personnel form a perimeter around a U-Haul van in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12. (John Minchillo/AP)

Investigators identified the suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting after finding a credit card at the scene that was used to rent the U-Haul cargo van, two law enforcement sources tell CNN.

The U-Haul cargo van that police say is “connected with” the shooting has also been located in Brooklyn, two law enforcement officials told CNN earlier today.

CNN reported that investigators in New York City were looking for a U-Haul that was allegedly connected to the subway shooting, according to internal NYPD emails viewed by CNN. The emails did not spell how the van was connected to the shooting.

More on the suspect: The man who fled the scene was described by authorities in a news conference today as a 5-foot-5-inch Black man with a heavy build wearing a green construction vest and a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Investigators have cell phone video from an eyewitness that shows the suspect, a law enforcement source told CNN.

5:59 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

NYC subway system has almost 600 cameras in Brooklyn section where subway shooting took place

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

A member of the New York City Police Department climbs a ladder to retrieve a security camera near the subway station shooting in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
A member of the New York City Police Department climbs a ladder to retrieve a security camera near the subway station shooting in Brooklyn on Tuesday. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

There are almost 10,000 cameras in the Metro Transportation Authority (MTA) system, including almost 600 cameras on the Brooklyn section of where Tuesday’s subway attack took place, Janno Lieber, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chair and CEO, told CNN’s Jake Tapper. 

“We’re going to work with the NYPD to capture all that video to find out where this criminal may have come in or out of the system,” Lieber said. “And we’re also just reviewing with everybody who is involved, all of the information.”

Lieber said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams made a commitments very early on in the new year to keeping the city’s subway system safe.

“They have put more officers both on the platforms and on the train where people feel vulnerable,” the MTA chair explained, “And there are, you know, there’s an enormous effort to reach out to some of the people who for whatever reason have been sheltering in the subway system.”

In February, New York City unveiled a comprehensive plan, dubbed The Subway Safety Plan, aimed at combating crime and addressing homelessness in the subway system that will expand response teams of health, police and community officials across the city.