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Subway shooter Frank James pleads not guilty to attack in Brooklyn

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 13/05/2022 James Gant For Dailymail.Com

The gunman who allegedly opened fire on a subway in Brooklyn before going on the run has pleaded not guilty.

Frank James denied he took part in a terrorist attack, violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

The accused shooter, 62, was hit with the federal terror charge by a grand jury last week.

James also faces a second count of  discharging a firearm during a crime of violence over the April 12 attack in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The federal charges have been filed in addition to prior counts filed against him by the southern district of New York. James will be tried on them separately.

The earlier indictment accuses him of terrorist attacks or other violence against a mass transportation system, and carries a life sentence if James is convicted.

Frank James denied he took part in a terrorist attack, violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence

Frank James denied he took part in a terrorist attack, violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence
© Provided by Daily Mail

Last month's shooting at Sunset Park saw 10 people shot and 23 others injured. All those wounded in the incident survived.

He remains locked-up in a New York City jail ahead of his next court appearance.

Prosecutors say James staged a premeditated attack when he shot ten people and injured others on the northbound N train at around 8.25am on April 12, during rush hour.

James, dressed in a construction worker's vest and helmet, donned a gas mask and rolled smoke grenades into the carriage before opening fire.

Videos from the scene showed hundreds of commuters frantically running for the exits as shots were fired.

A 24-hour manhunt then ensued, with the Bronx-born, Milwaukee-based suspect ultimately arrested while strolling down the street on April 13.

Frantic commuters were seen trying to run for the exits after a gunman investigators say was James opened fire at a Brooklyn subway station © Provided by Daily Mail Frantic commuters were seen trying to run for the exits after a gunman investigators say was James opened fire at a Brooklyn subway station

In court documents the next day, prosecutors detailed how more ammunition was found in James' rented Philadelphia apartment, including an extended round magazine that was fit for a semi-automatic rifle. No such firearm has been found yet in connection with the suspect.

© Provided by Daily Mail

His 9mm handgun was found at the 36th Street subway station after the attack, along with spent shell casings, fireworks, and a key to his U-Haul. 


Video: Moment NY subway attack suspect is detained (Sky News)

Police also searched a storage unit in Philadelphia, where he was keeping more ammunition, a torch and a gun silencer. 

There was a propane gas tank in the U-Haul when police swooped in on it hours after the attack. 

James dumped the truck five miles from the 36th Street subway. He was filmed walking away. James' motive remains unknown.

James had a criminal history extending back to 1992, when he pleaded guilty to attempted petit larceny and was known to the FBI's Guardian Program, which tracks terror threats and suspects, over an incident in New Mexico in 2019. 

At the time, he was cleared of wrongdoing.  

But in a YouTube video posted just one day before the attack, James said he wanted to harm people.

'I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die,' he said. 

Other videos featured James ranting about discrimination and complaining about white people. 

They are now being closely examined by law enforcement.

Mayor Eric Adams has suggested that it was the responsibility of YouTube to monitor the videos and report them.

'There's a corporate responsibility hen we are watching hate brew online,' Adams said. 

'We can identify [hate] using artificial intelligence and other methods to identify those who are talking about violence.'

Critics accused Adams of passing the buck, noting that the surveillance cameras in the station were not working - allowing James to flee - and that NYPD failed to find him, despite his wandering around Manhattan for almost 24 hours after the attack and eventually calling the police himself. 

Earlier this month, James' lawyers accused FBI investigators of breaching his rights by swabbing his cheek for a DNA sample and making him sign papers without asking for permission from his legal team, or ensuring they were there in accordance with James' legal rights.   

Further details of that interaction at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Correctional Center have not been shared.  

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