Apr 13, 2022
NYPD provide update on subway shooting 4/12/22 Transcript
NYPD provide update on subway shooting 4/12/22. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
But we also have the Assistant Director in charge of the FBI, in charge of the New York office, Mike Driscoll, and the JTTF efforts with the NYPD that are ongoing, as well as the special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, John DeVito. But we’ll begin with a word from Gracie Mansion from the Mayor of the City of New York, Eric Adams.
Gracie Mansion: (01:36)
Thank you all for your patience.
Speaker 2: (01:47)
We’re having audio difficulties, so what we’re going to do is regroup here. We’re going to cut to the police commissioner and when we resolve the audio problem, we’ll bring the mayor back in progress.
Gracie Mansion: (01:59)
Thank you all for attending this evening and helping us get this information out to the public, it’s so important. We are truly fortunate that this was not significantly worse than it is. As we reported this afternoon, a man who was traveling on a Manhattan bound N train opened two canisters that dispensed smoke throughout the subway car. He then shot multiple passengers as the train pulled into 36th Street Station in Sunset Park. 10 people were injured by gunfire and an additional 13 were either injured as they rushed to get out of the train station, or they suffered smoke inhalation. Some good news is that none of the injuries appear to be life threatening. As detectives processed the crime scene, they recovered a nine millimeter semiautomatic handgun, extended magazines, and a hatchet. Also found is a liquid we believe to be gasoline and a bag containing consumer-grade fireworks and a hobby fuse.
Gracie Mansion: (02:59)
About an hour ago, detectives located a U-Haul van in Brooklyn that we believe is connected to the suspect. At this time, we still do not know the suspect’s motivation. Clearly, this individual boarded the train and was intent on violence. We’re conducting a highly coordinated investigation that includes NYPD detectives, the FBI NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the ATF, who have been instrumental in tracing the firearm and ballistics. The suspect is a dark-skinned male and was wearing a neon orange vest and a gray colored sweatshirt. We do have a person of interest in this investigation, but we need the public assistance with additional information. We’re asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. We know this incident is of grave concern to New Yorkers. We cannot lose sight of victims in this city. We will use every resource we can to bring those to justice who continue to prey on the citizens of New York. I’ll ask Chief James Essig to come in and give details of the investigation.
James Essig: (04:09)
Good evening everybody. Today at 8:24 AM, aboard a Manhattan-bound N train, 10 people were shot, seven males, three females, and they were removed to area hospitals. An additional 13 people suffered injuries related to smoke inhalation, falling down, or a panic attack. The information I’m about to give you is preliminary and it’s subject to change right now. As that N train was between stations 59th street and the 36th street stations, seated in the second car in the rear corner was a dark-skinned male. Various descriptions of his height are given. He is heavy set, wearing an orange-green nylon-type construction vest. He also had on a gray hoodie, a surgical mask, and a neon green construction helmet. As the train approached the 36th street station, witnesses state the male opened up two smoke grenades, tossed them on the subway floor, brandishes a Glock nine millimeter handgun. He then fired that weapon at least 33 times, striking 10 people. The male then fled the scene and detectives are actively trying to determine his whereabouts.
James Essig: (05:46)
Recovered at that scene was a Glock 17 nine millimeter handgun, three extended Glock-type magazines. One was still in the weapon, one under a seat, and one in a backpack. We had 33 discharged shell casings, 15 bullets, five bullet fragments, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet, a black garbage can, a black milk-type-style rolling cart, the gasoline and a U-Haul key. The U-Haul key at the scene led us to the recovery of a U-Haul van a short while ago in Brooklyn. The male who we believe is the renter of this U-Haul in Philadelphia is a Frank R. James, male, 62 years old, with addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia. We are endeavoring to locate him to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any.
James Essig: (06:57)
The two crime scenes, the subway and the van, are very active and are still being processed. We are asking for anyone’s help with information, cellphone video, witness information, or if they can identify the perpetrator or the renter of this vehicle, to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. There is a $50,000 reward out right now. $25,000 from the New York City Police Foundation, $12,500 from the MTA, and $12,500 from the TWA Local 100. I just want to assure everyone that we in the NYPD have all our resources working this, along with our partners in the FBI and the ATF, to find this perpetrator. With that, I’d like to turn it over to Mike Driscoll.
Speaker 2: (07:52)
We’re going to go back to the mayor, assuming we’ve resolved that issue.
Gracie Mansion: (08:03)
Mr. Mayor, we’re ready for you.
Eric Adams: (08:08)
Thank you, commissioner and chief. As we indicated, today was a difficult day for New York, and days like these are playing out too often in cities across America. As mentioned this morning, we witnessed an act of violence and evil in the heart of Brooklyn, where a shooter attacked a subway car full of innocent people at the 36th street station. We saw a quiet Tuesday morning turn the N train into a war zone, so as a small bomb was detonated and multiple shots rain out. We witnessed 20 individuals have been injured so far, as it was mentioned, and thanks to the quick thinking of the MTA crew and the brave and cooperation of passengers, lives were saved. And thanks to our first responders, the injuries were quickly taken to area hospitals and all of them are expected to recover. You know I have been realistic and outspoken about my commitment to protecting public safety. I stand by that and will continue to do everything in my power to dam the rivers that feed the sea of violence.
Eric Adams: (09:19)
But this is not only a New York City problem. This rage, this violence, these guns, these relentless shooters are an American problem, and it’s going to take all levels of government to solve them. It is going to the entire nation to speak out and push back against the cult of death that has taken hold in this nation. The cult that allows innocence to be sacrificed on a daily basis. A country where buying weapons of mass destruction is as easy as picking up a piece of plywood or a garden shovel. A country where there are more guns than people. There are over 400 million guns in this country alone. The US gun homicide rate is 26 times that of other high income countries, where over a hundred people die in gun violence every day. Guns are the leading cause of death for American children and teens, like the 16 year old baby we lost in the Bronx.
Eric Adams: (10:24)
From schools in Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Virginia, to music festivals in Las Vegas, to nightclubs in Orlando, to movie theaters and younger classes across the nation, these killers have used weapons of mass destruction to massacre innocent people. They control no armies or military forces, yet these individual killers terrorize our nation. I’ve often said that this city is not going to adapt to dysfunction. Ending gun violence means changing gun laws. We cannot clean up a flood when the water is still pouring into the basement, and we can never stop the killing if we cannot stop the guns. To be clear, we will not surrender our city to the violent few, and we will not surrender all of America to this cult of death. The sea of violence comes from many rivers. We must dam every river that feeds the greater crisis.
Eric Adams: (11:25)
That is the work of my life, this administration, and this police department. I will not stop until the peace we deserve becomes the reality we experience. You have my word as a former police officer, a fellow New Yorker and your mayor that we will end this epidemic, and that we’ll capture the individual responsible for today’s attack. We will capture him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law. Thank you NYPD, FDNY, our first responders, the collaboration from the federal government, the state, the city agencies.
Gracie Mansion: (12:03)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I’d like to turn it over to assistant special agent in charge of the FBI New York office, Michael Driscoll.
Michael Driscoll: (12:13)
Thank you commissioner. I want to start by expressing our hopes and prayers that the victims of this event will enjoy a quick recovery. They are our primary focus right now. I also want to echo the thanks for the partnership to the NYPD, the ATF, and all the partners who are contributing to this investigation. Right now the FBI NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force is fully engaged with this investigation, providing assistance through manpower, technical assistance, and basically everything we can throw at it. We expect the process to be a long one as we gather all possible information to track down all possible leads. And I would encourage you, as was mentioned earlier, to please reach out to the NYPD tip line at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Michael Driscoll: (13:01)
And I would also add, as frequently the case in many of our current investigations, everyone’s got a cell phone in their pocket. There’s a lot of video out there. If you have digital information that you’d like to share with us in connection with this investigation, please visit fbi.gov/brooklynshooting, where you can upload that information. So we are seeking the public’s help. You heard mentioned before of a name of possible interest. Videos would be particularly helpful, or any other additional witnesses who have yet to come forward that can provide information that might help this investigation. So thank you for participation, and I thank everyone for their partnership in the course of the investigation. Thank you.
Gracie Mansion: (13:38)
We’ll take a couple questions.
Speaker 6: (13:47)
Mr. Driscoll, is it the belief that he fled him foot after abandoning where he had gone?
Gracie Mansion: (13:52)
We are not sure where he wanted this point. That is subject to investigation. We have he number of resources that are combing on foot and doing video canvasses as well to determine where he went.
Speaker 7: (13:59)
He posted videos online talking about being a victim of the mayor’s mental health program. Can you talk to us about this [inaudible 00:14:13].
Gracie Mansion: (14:13)
So based on some preliminary information, there were some postings possibly connected to our person of interest, where he mentions homelessness, he mentions New York, and he does mention mayor Adams. And as a result of that, in an abundance of caution, we’re going to tighten the mayor’s security detail.
Speaker 8: (14:30)
Just to be clear, so this person, Frank James, he’s not the person of interest that’s in custody at this moment?
James Essig: (14:39)
We have no one in custody at this time. No. We are looking for Frank James. We know he rented this U-Haul van. The key of that U-Haul van was found at the crime scene in the subway.
Speaker 8: (14:52)
And Mr. James made those social media posts?
James Essig: (14:56)
We’re pouring through that, but yes, correct.
Speaker 9: (15:02)
And you believe he was the one in the train, is that correct?
James Essig: (15:03)
We are looking to determine if he has any connection to the train. We know Mr. James rented that U-Haul truck in Philadelphia.
Speaker 10: (15:16)
[inaudible 00:15:16] those threats online. Did the commissioner [inaudible 00:15:22]?
Gracie Mansion: (15:21)
So we’re not calling them threats. He made some concerning posts or someone made some concerning posts. We cannot attribute it to that individual yet. That’s under investigation. But again, in an abundance of caution, we’re going to tighten the mayor’s security detail as well.
Speaker 11: (15:33)
Does he have any connection at all to the transit system? Is he a TA worker, and any connection whatsoever to that subway station?
Gracie Mansion: (15:40)
That is subject to investigation. We don’t have any information yet.
Speaker 9: (15:47)
Does he have a criminal record?
Speaker 12: (15:47)
Does he have a criminal record? What is his exact connection to [inaudible 00:15:53]?
James Essig: (15:52)
Mr. James is just a person of interest we know right now who rented that U-Haul van in Philadelphia. The keys to that U-Haul van were found in the subway, in our shooter’s possessions. We don’t know right now if Mr. James has any connection to the subway. That’s still under investigation.
Speaker 13: (16:14)
Chief Essig, do you have any what would be called robust DNA evidence from the crime scene or van?
James Essig: (16:20)
The crime scene’s still being processed now. The van is being processed and the subway crime scene is being processed. It’s too early right now to tell.
Speaker 15: (16:32)
Can you explain where this U-Haul was located? Was it nearby? And also you said you’re investigating these videos, but can you confirm that it was him in the video or people that he knows? We’re trying to make that connection.
James Essig: (16:48)
The YouTube videos and the videos on there, there’s a man who posted there. Frank James, we’re still working to see if that’s our person who rented the van.
Speaker 15: (16:57)
And where was the U-Haul located?
James Essig: (16:59)
Kings Highway in Brooklyn.
Speaker 15: (17:00)
Kings Highway intersection?
James Essig: (17:04)
West Fourth and Kings Highway.
Speaker 15: (17:04)
Is there anything more you can tell about the content of the posts? I know you said it wasn’t a direct threat to mayor. Can you tell us anything that he said about the mayor that caused you to beef up his security detail.
Gracie Mansion: (17:19)
There were general topics of concern, and I don’t want to go into too many details about the mayor’s security detail. We’re just doing it just to be on the safe side.
Speaker 15: (17:31)
Any other details? You’ve got homelessness, you mentioned that he posted [inaudible 00:17:32].
Gracie Mansion: (17:31)
Complaints about homelessness, complaints about New York, nothing in general… I’m sorry, just general comments that caused us some concern that are subject to investigation at this point.
Speaker 2: (17:37)
Speaker 16: (17:39)
Why were there no working surveillance cameras in the station? Why did police radios not work in the station and how much did those factors hamper this investigation?
James Essig: (17:48)
Yeah, we know that there were three stations that the video wasn’t working. We’re still investigating that to see why or how… Whether it was a mechanical problem or electrical issue, why those videos were not.
Speaker 16: (18:02)
And the police radio?
James Essig: (18:05)
There was no issues with police radios.
Speaker 16: (18:13)
There are reports that one of the first officers on scene said his radio wasn’t working and he told one of the teenagers there to call 911.
Speaker 17: (18:15)
Yeah, so patrol officers, so officers who work top side, if you will, and patrol precincts, when they go down the station, they have to switch frequencies. It’s a UHF versus VHF. So if they didn’t switch the radio over to the VHF frequency, they would not be able to transmit down to the subway station. So it’s user error. It wasn’t a problem with the actual radio.
Speaker 18: (18:36)
How many officers are assigned to the 36th street station, and were there any officers in the station at all?
Speaker 12: (18:42)
So we don’t typically assign officers to subway stations. Officers patrol on a rotating basis. They ride trains, they come out, they patrol the stations. Patrol officers from the precincts stop, go down, they do station inspections. We’ve been doing that since January, so that station was patrolled several times today. There were no officers present in the station at the time of the shooting, but it had been patrolled several times on this calendar date prior to the shooting in the early morning hours.
Speaker 2: (19:08)
Speaker 19: (19:09)
What do we know about Mr. James and his local ties to New York City?
James Essig: (19:17)
We know Mr. James has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia. As far as New York, still under investigation, but he’s just a person of interest right now in this case.
Speaker 20: (19:32)
Is it clear when he entered the station, and is he on video anywhere or after the fact?
James Essig: (19:35)
We know the shooter entered the station on Kings Highway. So we’re asking for anybody who knows, from Kings Highway to 35th street is eight stops. Anybody who sees him with any information, please call Crime Stoppers.
Speaker 20: (19:52)
And when was James last seen? Is that clear? Is he on video at all?
James Essig: (19:57)
We literally have hundreds of detectives out in the field right now pouring through video at train stations, the egresses, the recovery sites of the vehicle. So we hope to have clearer pictures of who we believe is the shooter.
Speaker 2: (20:14)
Two more question. CNN.
Speaker 21: (20:15)
About the weapon that was recovered. Has that been traced back to Mr. James at all, and is there any likelihood that… Or how confident are investigators that he is the same person that pulled the trigger?
James Essig: (20:29)
As far as pulling the trigger, that’s still under investigation. As the firearm is concerned we know it’s not part of a multi sale. We know it’s not stolen. We’re working with our partners in the ATF to track back to the point of sale and then move forward on that.
Speaker 2: (20:44)
And last question.
Speaker 7: (20:46)
Your physical description of James, does it match the descriptions of who you put out today?
James Essig: (20:53)
Again, as I said, we, there was two smoke grenades thrown. We have various descriptions of height. I gave the description out of the man with the vest. We’re looking through all possible leads on a person.
Speaker 22: (21:07)
I think if you look at our social media, you’ll see two photos of the person of interest.
Speaker 2: (21:12)
All right. Thank you very much.