Apr 12, 2022
Brooklyn Subway Shooting Press Conference 4/12/22 Transcript
Brooklyn Subway Shooting Press Conference 4/12/22. Read the transcript here.
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… Encounter terrorism. We’re going to do an initial briefing here, which is going to be somewhat limited because the investigation is very active. The incident is still unfolding. You’re going to hear from deputy mayor, first deputy mayor Lorraine Grillo, governor Kathy Hochul, police commissioner Keechant Sewell will outline the events as we know them. Laura Kavanagh, the first deputy commissioner and acting fire commissioner will walk you through casualties. [inaudible 00:00:27] from the MTA will give us the status of the system, and then we’ll be able to entertain some limited questions. There will be another briefing later this afternoon, where we’ll be able to update that, and then additional briefings as needed. First deputy mayor Lorraine Grillo.
Lorraine Grillo: (00:46)
Thank you. Thank you, John. So from the very minute this incident occurred, the mayor and I have been on the phone, monitoring the situation constantly. We have worked with all of our agencies, the FDNY, NYPD, OEM, all of the agencies who have worked really hard together and will continue to throw all of the city’s resources at this situation. We’ve made all of the resources available, and we’ll work with the Office of Emergency Management for any additional needs. I’m going to ask the police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, to speak to you and give you an update on the events of today. Thank you.
Keechant Sewell: (01:36)
Good afternoon. We’re going to update New Yorkers about an active shooting incident that took place this morning inside the 36th Street subway station on the N line. I want to begin by assuring the public that there are currently no known explosive devices on our subway trains, and this is not being investigated as an act of terrorism at this time. We can also report that, although this was a violent incident, reportedly we have no one with life-threatening injuries as a result of this case. This investigation is only hours old, so please note this information is subject to change.
Keechant Sewell: (02:09)
Just before 8:24 this morning, as a Manhattan bound N train waited to enter the 36th Street station, an individual on that train donned what appeared to be a gas mask. He then took a canister out of his bag and opened it. The train at that time began to fill with smoke. He then opened fire, striking multiple people on the subway and in the platform. Again, we will describe him as an individual. He is being reported as a male black, approximately five feet five inches tall with a heavy build. He was wearing a green construction type vest and a hooded sweatshirt. The color is gray.
Keechant Sewell: (02:49)
At this time, we are working with our federal partners, where we are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information, videos, or photographs, no matter how insignificant they think it may be, is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. All calls are strictly confidential. I’d like to turn it over to the FDNY to give information about the victims. Oh, I’m sorry. I apologize. The governor would like to speak now. Governor Hochul. My apologies.
Kathy Hochul: (03:17)
That’s all right. Good afternoon. This morning, ordinary New Yorkers woke up in anticipation of a relatively normal day. They left their homes, en route to school, en route to their jobs, and to a normal day, as I mentioned.
Kathy Hochul: (03:40)
That sense of tranquility and normalness was disrupted, brutally disrupted, by an individual so cold-hearted and depraved of heart, that they had no caring about the individuals that they assaulted as they simply went about their daily lives. This individual is still on the loose. This person is dangerous. They’re asking individuals to be very vigilant and alert, and you’ll get more reports on specificity as the day goes on.
Kathy Hochul: (04:09)
So this is an active shooter situation right now in the city of New York. I just got off the phone with the mayor. He’s recovering well, he’s monitoring, he’s actively engaged in the situation. I wanted to let him know that the people of the entire state of New York stand with the people of this city, this community, and we say no more. No more mass shootings. No more disrupting lives. No more creating heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers. It has to end, and it ends now. And we are sick and tired of reading headlines about crime, whether they’re mass shootings or the loss of a teenage girl or a 13 year old. It has to stop.
Kathy Hochul: (04:52)
I’m committing the full resources of our state to fight this surge of crime, this insanity that is seizing our city, because we want to give back to normal. And it’s been a long, hard two years. That’s that we crave, that sense of stability and normalcy. And this is what the mayor and I are going to continue to work toward.
Kathy Hochul: (05:11)
And I thank the partners, the brave people of the MTA, the first ones who had the sense, the drivers of the train, to leave the station to make sure are no more victims could be hurt. The NYPD, FDNY, state police. Everyone involved in this has one purpose, and it’s to stop the insanity of these crimes.
Kathy Hochul: (05:39)
You’ll hear now from our fire department. I want to thank them for being there to help us diffuse a volatile situation. But we’ll be giving continued reports as this day unfolds. Again, we ask everyone to be careful, be cautious, report what you see. It is likely that someone out there listening to this is going to help us lead us to that individual. You have a description of what they’re wearing, you know the details. But this is the day we pull together as New Yorkers, united in a common purpose to say no more. And that is what I’m going to continue to do as the governor of the state of New York, working with our local partners right here. Thank you.
Laura Kavanagh: (06:17)
Thank you, governor. Good afternoon. This morning, the FDNY received reports of gunshot victims in the subway. Thanks to their quick response, we were able to treat 16 patients. 10 of those patients are suffering from gunshot wounds at this time, and five of them are in critical but stable condition in our local hospitals.
Speaker 6: (06:40)
Can you say that again?
Laura Kavanagh: (06:43)
Yes. We have 16 total patients. 10 of them are suffering from gunshot wounds, and five of them are in critical but stable conditions at this time. And I’m going to pass it over to the MTA for an update on our subways.
Speaker 7: (06:58)
Okay. First of all, we have to thank the NYPD and the FDNY and the whole team who’ve done so much to protect us and help immediately to recover from this situation. And I also need to acknowledge the MTA workers who had the foresight to immediately move a train that was on the platform, the R train, out of the station so it could carry people to safety. That was smart thinking.
Speaker 7: (07:26)
Right now, B service is suspended, W service is suspended. The D and the N and the R are running with suspensions and some shuttle buses, and folks should check the website for latest. Obviously, it’s a disrupted day, but a lot of the system is in fact running.
Speaker 7: (07:47)
I just want to say one thing on a personal note, which is on 9/11, I stood on 4th Avenue and watched people, New Yorkers, come back from that tragedy. And I watched New Yorkers helping each other, and storekeepers walk out and give people water. That was the same thing we saw on the platform today. We saw New Yorkers in a difficult situation, an emergency, helping each other. That’s the subway riders, that’s who New Yorkers are. Every day, they’re showing people in the subway, which is our public space, that New Yorkers of all varieties can come together in small spaces and get along and create something bigger. That’s what we remember in these emergencies, as well as the tragedy and the thought for the quick recovery of the victims, is New Yorkers are incredibly resilient, just as they are in every emergency. And we thank them for what they’ve done. And we thank the governor and the mayor for their leadership in of our recovery from COVID and from every one of these challenges.
So just to reiterate, we’re going to be very limited in what we are able to answer in questions. Just to also underline our partners here, we got Mike Reagan, Mike Reagan is the assistant special agent in charge of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with the FBI and NYPD. John DeVito from ATF, who’s helping us with tracing efforts and investigation. He’s the special agent in charge for New York City. The Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, who is also here. And of course, Chief Ken Corey, chief of department, and first deputy commissioner Ed Kaban. We’ll start off with questions for the police commissioner.
Speaker 6: (09:23)
[crosstalk 00:09:23] Was the shooting on the train or on the platform? Was the suspect on the platform or in the train? And did it all happen in the 36th Street station, or what happened down at 25th Street?
Keechant Sewell: (09:35)
The suspect was in the train car. The shooting began in the train car.
Speaker 7: (09:39)
Commissioner, can you give us some more detail exactly what happened in the car? Did the suspect say anything? What type of weapon did he have? And what was going on inside the car as this all happened?
Keechant Sewell: (09:49)
So, as I stated before, we’re only able to get a limited information because it’s under investigation. As the train was pulling into the station, the subject put on a gas mask. He then opened a canister that was in his bag, and then the car filled with smoke. After that, he began shooting.
[crosstalk 00:10:02] Hang on. Go.
Speaker 8: (10:08)
Commissioner, does this appear to be random? Any idea why this individual did this and did this here?
Keechant Sewell: (10:14)
We do not know the motive at this time, but we’re not ruling anything out.
Speaker 8: (10:17)
[crosstalk 00:10:17] the injuries that are not gunshots, are they shrapnel wounds? What are the other injuries that were not gunshots?
Fire department [crosstalk 00:10:23]
Laura Kavanagh: (10:24)
There are a variety of other injuries from smoke inhalation to shrapnel, to panic from the incident.
Speaker 6: (10:30)
When you say shrapnel, what would the shrapnel come from?
Laura Kavanagh: (10:33)
It could be from anything. It’s still under an investigation at this time, so it could be grazing from a bullet. It could be from the panic following the incident.
Speaker 6: (10:40)
But not from an explosive device?
Laura Kavanagh: (10:41)
Not at this time, no.
Speaker 9: (10:42)
Any idea of the suspect, where they… they go to the train tracks, did they get out of a station? Any idea whereabouts immediately [crosstalk 00:10:49]
Keechant Sewell: (10:49)
That’s subject to investigation. We’re endeavoring to determine that right now.
[crosstalk 00:10:55] Commissioner [inaudible 00:10:58] not terrorism at this stage? Why rule out terrorism?
Keechant Sewell: (11:01)
I’m not ruling out anything. We’re determining what that motive is, and we’ll find that out as the investigation continues.
Speaker 11: (11:06)
The victims tend to one particular ethnic group?
Keechant Sewell: (11:09)
No, sir. The victims have a variety of [crosstalk 00:11:11]
Hang on, hang on. We got time for about two more.
Speaker 6: (11:16)
Why were the trains not shut down immediately? And if they were, could it have been easier to catch the suspect?
That’s not the case. [crosstalk 00:11:23]
Keechant Sewell: (11:22)
I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you.
Speaker 12: (11:23)
Were the cameras working in the subway station?
Keechant Sewell: (11:26)
That’s under investigation as we speak.
Speaker 12: (11:29)
[crosstalk 00:11:29] given that they were wearing a construction vest?
Keechant Sewell: (11:33)
We have not [crosstalk 00:11:33].
Speaker 12: (11:33)
A city worker or something?
Keechant Sewell: (11:36)
We have not identified the subject. He was wearing a green type construction vest.
Speaker 13: (11:40)
[crosstalk 00:11:40] do you want to comment on the arrest of your lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin? Did he speak to you this morning? Were you aware? Will you continue to [inaudible 00:11:45] him?
Kathy Hochul: (11:45)
I’ll be happy to report on that later today. We’ll have a statement out there. I’ve not had a chance to speak to him. I was [inaudible 00:11:52] this morning. This is not the place, but I’ll be addressing very shortly. Let’s focus on the fact that there are people in a hospital right now fighting for their lives. Those are the people we’re thinking about and praying for at this moment.
All right. Thank you very much. [crosstalk 00:12:05] now listen, we’re going to get [crosstalk 00:12:06] hang on a second. Hang on a second. We’re going to get back to you with a time for an update later. The information is developing. We expect to have more later, and that will not be here. That will be either at the precinct or headquarters. We’ll find an appropriate location where we have enough room, and we can do this in a controlled environment.
Speaker 9: (12:28)
I’ll make it very simply [crosstalk 00:12:31] We don’t who the suspect is. We don’t know what the motive is. We’re not [crosstalk 00:12:37].
Speaker 14: (12:37)
Guys [inaudible 00:12:37] get our mics, please-