Brooklyn subway shooting suspect arrested

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

Updated 6:27 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022
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2:01 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Brooklyn subway shooting suspect has been arrested, law enforcement officials say

From CNN's Shimon Prokupecz and Brynn Gingras

Frank James is seen in these photos shared by the NYPD.
Frank James is seen in these photos shared by the NYPD. (NYPD)

Suspected Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James was arrested by patrol officers in the East Village in New York City on Wednesday, three law enforcement officials tell CNN.

Patrol officers from the 9th Precinct downtown arrested him, they said.

2:22 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

The FBI is working with a fireworks facility in Wisconsin regarding subway shooting suspect

From Artemis Moshtaghian, Peter Nickeas, and Brynn Gingras

The owner of Phantom Fireworks, Bruce Zoldan, provided CNN with a receipt showing a man named Frank James purchased fireworks and “color smoke balls” from a retail location in Wisconsin in June 2021. Zoldan told CNN he is working with the FBI. 

The receipt shows a brand of fireworks that matches the brand that investigators found at the scene, according to a picture of the evidence obtained by CNN. 

Phantom Fireworks, located in Caledonia, Wisconsin, released a statement, saying that it "cannot confirm that the purchaser and the person of interest are the same individual" as there is no video surveillance footage of the purchase available.

The company is cooperating with investigators, according to the statement.  

1:53 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

10 people remain hospitalized in connection with Brooklyn subway shooting, according to local hospitals 

From CNN’s Chris Hippensteel

Of the 29 people who were hospitalized in connection with the Brooklyn subway shooting, 10 remain hospitalized as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to local hospitals.

Five people remain hospitalized at NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, spokesperson David Koeppel told CNN. The hospital admitted the most patients from the subway shooting yesterday — 21 people in total. All victims still hospitalized are in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries, the spokesperson said. 

Two people remain hospitalized at Maimonides Medical Center and three people at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, according to the hospitals. All the patients are in good or stable condition.

12:33 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Investigators link gun found at Brooklyn subway shooting scene to suspect, law enforcement officials say

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

Investigators have linked the gun found at the scene of the subway shooting to suspect Frank James, according to law enforcement officials.

Three law enforcement officials told CNN that investigators have determined the gun recovered from the scene of the subway shooting was purchased by James. 

Two of those officials said linking the gun to James was part of the impetus in elevating James from a “person of interest” to a suspect in connection with the shooting. 

Investigators are learning more about the purchases that James made as they pour over evidence, including search warrants, sources said.

Authorities have tracked the purchase of a gas mask to James through an eBay account, according to one of the aforementioned law enforcement officials and a separate law enforcement official. 

When reached for comment, an eBay spokesperson said that “while we cannot comment on individual users' activities, when contacted by law enforcement agencies, we fully cooperate and work closely with them to assist with their investigations.”

The New York City Police Department, in coordination with federal authorities, have continued to talk to victims and witnesses of the subway shooting, have interviewed known family members of James, and have conducted search warrants as part of its investigative efforts in finding him, one of the officials told CNN.

Investigators also continue to comb through James’ social media footprint, the source said.

CNN's Richard Davis contributed to this report.

11:23 a.m. ET, April 13, 2022

No weapons or explosives found in recovered U-Haul van, law enforcement officials say 

From CNN's Mark Morales and Brynn Gingras

Emergency personnel search a U-Haul van following the shooting on Tuesday, April 12, in New York.
Emergency personnel search a U-Haul van following the shooting on Tuesday, April 12, in New York. (John Minchillo/AP)

Investigators did not find any other weapons or explosives in the U-Haul van discovered in connection with the Brooklyn subway shooting, law enforcement officials said.

One official said no weapons or explosives were found, and a second source also said no explosives were found.

The van, which investigators say was rented by suspect Frank James, did have remnants of food in it, one source said.

Both sources said it appeared he may have slept in the vehicle.  

Both law enforcement sources also say a license plate reader detected the van driving over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn, from Staten Island, around 4 a.m. ET Tuesday.

10:56 a.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Brooklyn shooting suspect posted about NYC mental health programs

From CNN's David Shortell

Frank James, the Brooklyn subway shooting suspect, criticized a plan by the administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams to address safety and homelessness in the subway in part through an expanded presence of mental health professionals in a video posted online in February. 

In another racist and rambling recording, James called the new effort "doomed to fail" and described his own negative experience with city health workers during a "crisis of mental health back in the 90s, 80s and 70s."

More: Other videos that James has uploaded included references to violence, including at a set group of people he believed had maligned him, in addition to broad societal and racial groups that he appeared to hate.

In another video posted last week, James, who is Black, rants about abuse in churches and racism in the workplace, using misogynistic and racist language.

In another video posted last month to the same channel, James said that he had post-traumatic stress. In that video, James said he left his home in Milwaukee on March 20. During the trip eastward, he said he was heading to the "danger zone."

10:54 a.m. ET, April 13, 2022

US Marshals join manhunt for Brooklyn subway shooting suspect

From CNN's Whitney Wild

The US Marshals Service has joined the manhunt for Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James, a spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday.

“USMS has joined the investigation in the NYC subway shooting and is looking for the person of interest. About 50 NYPD detectives work on the USMS NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force and will assist deputy US Marshals in the search for the person of interest," US Marshals Service spokesperson Drew Wade said in a statement.

New York officials are now referring to Frank James, formerly a person of interest, as the suspect in the shooting. Authorities said the suspect, who remains at large, put on a gas mask, deployed a gas canister and then began shooting, firing at least 33 times.

10:32 a.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Witnesses recount frantic scene as suspect began shooting in smoke-filled train car

From CNN's Elizabeth Wolfe, Kristina Sgueglia, Paul Murphy and Amir Vera

Images captured by people at the scene of the Brooklyn subway shooting and witness accounts piece together a picture of the panic and chaos that ensued when shots began to ring out in the smoke-filled train car.

People backed away from the door and a man banged on the door trying to move into the subway car, video taken by the passenger showed. In another video, people can be seen rushing off the subway train after it pulled into the 36th Street subway station.

Smoke pours out of the car where the shooting took place, and people can be heard screaming, that video shows. Someone helps an injured and bleeding person off the train, and another man is seen hobbling off the train shortly afterward.

Images taken by others at the scene show the subway platform streaked with blood and people sitting and lying on the train platform following the attack.

Hourari Benkada, 27, was sitting next to the subway shooting suspect on the "N" train and was shot in the back of his knee while trying to flee, he told CNN.

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

Benkada, a housekeeping manager at the New Yorker Hotel, got on the last car of the N train and sat next to a man with a duffel bag who was wearing an Metropolitan Transportation Authority vest, he said. The gunman then let off a "smoke bomb" and started shooting about 20 seconds after the train took off, Benkada said.

Benkada was focused on helping a pregnant woman, whom he feared would get hurt as people rushed to the front of the car, when he got shot, describing it as "the worst pain of my entire life."

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

Benkada heard other people in pain but couldn't see them or the suspect because of the smoke, he said.

Claire Tunkel, 46, took off her jacket and tied it around the leg of a man who suffered a gunshot wound, she told CNN. Tunkel, who went to the hospital for smoke inhalation, said several victims were lying 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."

11:44 a.m. ET, April 13, 2022

NYPD has video related to Brooklyn subway shooting, MTA CEO says

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Members of the New York City Police Department patrol the streets after the incident on April 12.
Members of the New York City Police Department patrol the streets after the incident on April 12. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

The New York City Police Department has access to "an enormous range of video" from transit system cameras related to Tuesday's subway shooting in Brooklyn, according to Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO Janno Lieber.

Authorities are now naming Frank James as a suspect in connection with the shooting.

"The cops have been looking overnight at all of the stations, where he got on, where he might have got off," Lieber said on CBS Wednesday morning. "There's an enormous range of video."

When asked why it appears that the cameras on the train where the shooting happened weren't working, he said it may have been a server issue.

"I think that in the one location by the turnstile, there was apparently a server problem, which they had been working on the day before," he said. "But the bigger issue is, there's so much video evidence from all of the stations on this line that there are images of this fellow that are going to be found." 

Enforcing the rules of conduct of the transit system and putting officers on platforms and trains will help target transit crime, Lieber said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.

"One, we need to put cops on platforms and on trains, which is where people feel vulnerable," said Lieber. "The other thing is to just enforce the basic rules of conduct."

When asked about if the MTA could do anything about potentially targeting situations in which someone is carrying many items in a backpack as the suspect did on Tuesday, Lieber said the authority wouldn't want to create an environment that's impractical.

"The bottom line is on that platform, in addition to that backpack and all those materials he left behind, I saw kids' schoolwork, backpacks filled with kids' schoolwork," said Lieber. "So what we're not going to do is create an environment where people can't go about their business and create something that's impractical."