Who first saw Frank Robert James?
That’s the question on the minds of many after several sharp-eyed citizen sleuths said they saw the suspected Brooklyn subway shooter wandering Manhattan’s East Village and alerted the NYPD. After police declared the 62-year-old a suspect in Tuesday’s mass shooting that saw 10 people shot and 13 others injured, a $50,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest and indictment.
Jack Griffin (17-year-old photography student) was on a fieldtrip with his class when he saw James. He claimed that he saw James on a bench, and started taking photos. Griffin stated that James noticed that he was being photographed, and began walking away.
Police said it was Griffin’s tip, posted on Twitter at 10:30 a.m., that led them to focus their search on the East Village.
James was spotted by others as the police closed in. Lee Vasu, a portrait artist and gallery owner in the neighborhood, was eating lunch with his families when James came by.
Zack Tahann had just installed security cameras in a nearby shop when he noticed James.
“I told the police, this is the guy, he did that problem in Brooklyn, this guy, catch him,”Tahann stated. “Thank God we catch him. Thank you very much,”He said this as the crowd cheered.
James provided one of the tips among many.
Investigators said James called police to say his phone was dying and he was charging it at a McDonald’s.
The $50,000 reward will go to who? Griffin is most likely to be awarded the cash.
James was granted bail Thursday for his first court appearance following Tuesday’s violent attack on the N train that bound Manhattan.
James did not plead guilty to the charges in federal court. He is being charged under a statute prohibiting terrorist attacks on mass transit systems. He was also charged with crossing state borders.
“The defendant, terrifyingly, opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, interrupting their morning commute in a way this city hasn’t seen in more than 20 years,” said U.S. Attorney Sara Winik. “The defendant’s attack was premeditated, it was carefully planned, and it caused terror among the victims and our entire city. The defendant’s mere presence outside federal custody presents a serious risk of danger to the community and he should be detained pending trial.”
James’s known criminal history includes 15 prior arrests dating back to the 1990s for a range of offenses including burglary, larceny and disorderly conduct. According to police, James was alleged to have put on a gas mask, set off smoke bombs, and fired as the train headed towards Sunset Park’s 36th Street and Fourth Avenue stations.
James is seen in new video disguised as a transit worker entering the subway at Kings Highway station, Brooklyn. Officials said that James fled the scene of destruction after the train reached the station. Witnesses have posted social media videos that show the train passengers coughing and stabbing as others fled the station platform in panic.
Many New Yorkers are scared after the bloody attack. Subway ridership plummeted 5% one day after the shooting, and many straphangers are searching for other ways to travel around New York City.