Grand jury indicts Brooklyn shooting suspect
After nearly a month since his apprehension, a grand jury has indicted Frank James for the Brooklyn mass shooting carried out in a subway station last month.
A federal grand jury has indicted the man suspected of carrying out a mass shooting in a New York City subway in April, Frank James, which wounded 10 people in a city whose violent crime rates are spiraling.
The 23-person panel charged James, 62, on Friday with committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation system as well as discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Both sentences can land the suspect in prison for the rest of his life, with the weapons count alone carrying a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Citing the New York Police Department (NYPD), CNN reported at the time of the shooting that multiple people had been shot at a Brooklyn subway station with the authorities finding several undetonated devices at the scene.
The following day, the police issued a notice that "a person of interest" in the investigation was Frank James, taking to Twitter to post two pictures of him and ask for information about him.
The initial toll, as revealed by the NYPD, was 23 injured individuals, including 10 directly hit by bullets. The police then went on to say they were not investigating the incident as an act of terrorism.
According to NYPD chief James Essig, the gunman fired 33 shots. Police later recovered a Glock 17 nine-millimeter handgun, three additional ammunition magazines, and a hatchet from the scene.
The gunman "opened two canisters that dispensed smoke throughout the subway car," NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell said. "He then shot multiple passengers as the train pulled into the 36th Street station."
Verified video footage posted on social media showed the train pulling into the 36th Street station and smoke billowing out the doors as passengers rushed off, some apparently injured.
James was arrested later that day, with authorities saying his bank card, cellphone, and a key to the van he rented when he drove from Philadelphia were found at the crime scene. Police also said they found the handgun used in the shooting and traced it to the main suspect.
James is currently in custody without bail, and, without an arraignment scheduled, it could be a while before his fate is determined.
A lawyer representing James at the time of his arrest cautioned the authorities not to rush to judgment, noting that his client had alerted police to his whereabouts.
The arrest took place in Manhattan's East Village after James called a tip line and informed the authorities that he was at a fast food restaurant in that section of the city.
Without those involved reaching a motive for the attack so far, it is unclear what could have prompted James to go on the shooting spree. However, he had posted several rants on YouTube where he criticizes New York Mayor Eric Adams and complained about the mental health care he had received in the city years prior to the incident.
Over the past five-year period, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) could only trace 0.98% of suspected "ghost guns" handed in by law enforcement to an individual purchaser, the department added.
According to the organization Gun Violence Archive (GVA), more than 15,070 people have died from gun violence since the beginning of the year in the United States, including suicides.
Over the whole of 2020, the number was at 45,000 dead, said GVA, a figure which has prompted the White House to speak of an "epidemic".
So far in 2022, according to the organization, 12,166 have sustained injuries from gun violence, with a total of 179 shootings carried out over the United States.