The New York man accused of opening fire on a rush hour subway train in Brooklyn is expected to make his first court appearance on Thursday.
Frank Robert James, 62, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan’s East Village, authorities said, more than 24 hours after an intense manhunt began after 10 people were shot in a crowded subway car in Brooklyn.
He was charged in a criminal complaint with committing a terrorist act in a transit vehicle and was later transferred to federal custody in Brooklyn. Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, whose office brought the charges, said James faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
James, who was born in New York but has lived in Philadelphia and Milwaukee for the past few years, will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann in federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday, according to Peace. The exact moment was unknown.
The shooting unfolded in an N subway car bound for Manhattan during the Tuesday morning commute just before 8:30 a.m. ET as the train approached the 36th Street subway station in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
A man mumbling to himself on the subway donned a gas mask and detonated a smoke bomb before pulling out a handgun and firing a barrage of 33 bullets, a police official told ABC News. Ten people were shot, the youngest being 12, according to New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
The weapon jammed during the incident, which is believed to have saved lives, a law enforcement official told ABC News.
Smoke billowed from the subway car as the doors swung open and screaming passengers rushed onto the station platform. Bloodied people were seen lying on the floor of the train and on the platform.
A total of 29 people were injured, according to hospital officials. As of Wednesday morning, four of the injured were still hospitalized, New York City Mayor Eric Adams told ABC News.
Evidence recovered from the scene pointed investigators to James. According to the criminal complaint, police recovered two bags containing, among other things, a Glock 17 pistol, a key to a U-Haul rental vehicle and several bank cards. They also discovered a jacket with reflective strips near the two bags. Inside the jacket was a receipt for a storage unit in Philadelphia, which records provided by the facility showed were registered in James’s name, according to the complaint.
Records provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revealed that the Gock handgun recovered from the scene of the attack was legally purchased by James in Ohio, according to the complaint. One of the bank cards was a debit card bearing the name “Frank James”, according to the complaint. Records provided by U-Haul showed James rented a white Chevrolet pickup truck from the company in Philadelphia on Monday, according to the complaint.
The U-Haul vehicle crossed state lines from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and then to New York, according to the complaint. Surveillance cameras recorded the van crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge before dawn Tuesday and entering Brooklyn, according to the complaint.
At approximately 6:12 a.m. ET, another surveillance camera recorded an individual wearing a yellow hard hat, an orange work jacket with reflective tape, carrying a backpack in his right hand, and dragging a roller bag in his left hand, leaving the U-Haul van on foot near West 7th Street and Kings Highway in the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Police later located the vehicle parked on Kings Highway, about two blocks from a subway station for the N-train, where investigators believe James entered the transit system.
Senior law enforcement officials told ABC News they also uncovered a number of social media posts and videos linked to James. They’re determining if they’re relevant to the shooting, they said.
The investigation was complicated by the fact that none of the surveillance cameras inside the 36th Street subway station were working at the time of the attack, a police official told ABC News. The cameras, which aim at the turnstiles, did not transmit in real time due to a computer malfunction, a source said. The same issue affected the cameras at stops before and after 36th Street. Investigators said they are investigating how this malfunction occurred.
James managed to evade law enforcement for over a day. The New York Police Department first considered James a person of interest in the investigation Tuesday night before naming him a suspect Wednesday morning. Wanted for the attempted murder of 10 people, he was the subject of an extensive search by local and federal agencies, including the US Marshals Service.
James was eventually apprehended after police were told he was at a McDonald’s near Sixth Street and First Avenue. When responding officers did not see James at the fast food restaurant, they drove around the area and spotted him near St. Mark’s Square and First Avenue, where he was arrested without warning. incident around 1:45 p.m. ET Wednesday. according to the police.
Sources told ABC News that James may have called the police on himself.
ABC News’ Luke Barr, Mark Crudele, Alex Hosenball, Joshua Hoyos, Aaron Katersky, Soo Rin Kim, Josh Margolin, Christopher Looft and Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.