New video appears to show suspect Frank James allegedly on his way to Brooklyn subway shooting

NEW YORK — It has been more than 24 hours since the subway mass shooting in Sunset Park, Brooklyn turned a morning commute into chaos, and police are still looking for the man responsible.

Surveillance footage appears to show Frank Robert James on way to allegedly carry out attack

Surveillance footage has emerged that appears to show Brooklyn shooting suspect Frank Robert James on his way to carry out Tuesday’s attack on the city’s subway system.

The video, obtained by CBS2, shows a man dressed in an orange construction vest and yellow helmet walking down a street carrying a backpack in his right hand and wheeling a piece of luggage in his left.

Police said on Tuesday that the suspect was wearing a construction vest when he carried out the attack.

Surveillance footage believed to show suspect Frank James (CBS2)
Surveillance footage believed to show the suspect (CBS2)

Mayor Eric Adams says they are now calling Frank James a suspect, instead of just a person of interest, and police released new pictures of him.

Investigators say the suspect unloaded 33 rounds and threw smoke bombs. Fortunately, every single victim is expected to be OK, and many have already been released from the hospital.

As police stood guard at the 36th Street subway station Wednesday morning, one commuter blessed herself with the sign of the cross before getting on the subway.

The station was the scene of sheer horror the morning before, as riders were seen running for their lives through smoke and away from gunfire.

Police say 62-year-old Frank James attacked straphangers in the tunnel between the 59th Street and 36th Street stations, shooting 10 people and injuring 13 more when it’s assumed he set off smoke bombs, while wearing a gas mask.

“We don’t know his motivation to make a classification if this was a terrorist act or not,” Adams said Wednesday. “But even without that designation, we know that he wanted to bring terror.”

The mayor is still in isolation after being diagnosed with COVID, but he spoke virtually Wednesday to a number of media outlets about the investigation.

Detectives believe James entered the subway at the Kings Highway station — no one in the area seemingly aware of what he would do next.

“Well, there’s no evidence that indicates at this time that there was an accomplice,” said Adams.

The mayor said new information became available that upgraded James from a person of interest to a suspect. The city issued alerts Wednesday on cellphones.

“I’m sure more than one person identified him as the person in the subway,” retired NYPD Lt. Donald Drogin told CBS2, saying that means police are one step closer to catching James. “That’s the guy, 100%, that they’re focusing on. When they’re a person of interest, maybe they wanted to talk him, and he had a good alibi.”

backpack-01.jpg
An image of a bag filled with fireworks, a hatchet and more which police suspect may have been part of the Brooklyn subway shooter’s gear. IMAGE VIA CBS NEWS

Police say James left behind a bag with a hatchet, two gas canisters and a single automatic handgun that apparently jammed, perhaps saving lives. He is also connected to some concerning social media posts and uploaded videos to YouTube in March when he spoke about crimes in city subways.

“Those who are going to commit crime, like the shooting, [expletive]. Got shot in the chest in Brooklyn. Old lady got him in the head with a hammer? You’re not going to stop that. That means a policeman in every station, and that’s not possible,” he can be heard saying.

Commuter Paul Simeon saw the moments after the chaos, speculating how James got away.

“He probably ditched what he was wearing, and all the people trying to escape, probably got on one of the trains,” said Simeon.

Many now hope James is quickly caught.

“If you’re that crazy, they’re going to get you,” Simeon added.

There’s now a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest. Not only is the NYPD asking for tips, but the FBI is too.

Anyone with any information about the attack is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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