This morning, at a busy subway station in Sunset Park, a stocky, dark-skinned man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a green construction type vest, pulled on what appeared to be a gas mask, opened a canister that filled the train car with smoke and started shooting as the Manhattan-bound N train pulled into the 36th Street station just before 8:24 am, cops informed. As of this writing, he has still not been captured.
According to FDNY, 10 people suffered gunshot wounds, 5 in critical but stable condition as of lunchtime today, and 6 were otherwise injured in the incident - shrapnel, smoke inhalation, and panic. By afternoon, the list of injured had grown to 23. Among those shot were seven men and three women.
The suspect escaped and remains on the run. For a while, NYPD was looking for a U-Haul van with Arizona license plates allegedly driven by the gunman, which was later found abandoned near West 4th and Kings Highway.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called for all eyewitnesses and anyone who recorded any part of the incident or aftermath, no matter how small or insignificant, to come forward. It turns out cameras at the station were not working. Eric Adams said officials were looking into what happened.
There are only two exits from the station that serves D, N, and R trains and carried over 13,000 riders a day in 2019 - at 36th street and 4th Avenue. When you emerge from the station, there are three schools within a block of the entrance: Sunset Park High School (1,235 kids), PS 24 (531 kids), and PS 371 (228 kids). They, along with other area schools, were all put on "shelter in place," which limits who can enter school buildings, the Department of Education informed.
Mayor Adams, on his third day out with COVID, spoke from Gracie Mansion after Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the press conference in Sunset Park, informing that the number of cops would double in the subway system tonight.
This evening NYPD held a second press conference to address the day's events. They informed the shooter entered the subway system at the Kings Highway N stop. He was in the second subway car and opened fire from a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, shooting 33 times. Cops recovered the handgun, a Glock 17, three magazines, two more smoke grenades, a hatchet, gasoline, and a bag of fireworks. They are now looking to talk to a Frank R. James, 62, of Philadelphia, who had rented the U-Haul in question in Philadelphia; Mr. James has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia.
MTA police and the NYPD both police subway stations; however, most of the about 3,500 cops are NYPD. There were no officers at the station at the time of the shooting, but cops said the station had been patrolled a few times in the early morning hours.
Just last September, MTA announced that they had finally installed security cameras at all 472 subway stations. There are about 10,000 cameras systemwide, and they are one of two kinds - they either broadcast live feeds to the subway’s security center or record locally. The fact that security cameras at the 36th street subway station during rush hour were not working properly does not speak well to how the subways are secured.
According to reporting by CBS2, cameras at the 45th and 25th street stations on either side of the 36th street station were also not working properly. CBS also noted that in a 2018 Audit by state Comptroller Tom Dinapoli, auditors "reviewed 223 cameras at 10 stations and found that 1,328 of the 4,219 expected maintenance visits were simply not done. That's 31 percent."
For those of you who subscribe to the NYT, they have many stories on it, along with photos.
Police announced a $50,000 reward in the case.
Anyone with any information 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.
For the residents, here is how you can help: