New York Investigators Name ‘Person of Interest’ in Brooklyn Subway Rampage

April 12, 2022Joshua Skovlund
person of interest

Investigators in New York have named 62-year-old James R. Frank a “person of interest” in the April 12, 2022, attack on a subway train in Brooklyn. New York City Police Department photo.

Less than 11 hours after a gunman wearing a gas mask detonated a smoke bomb on a packed subway train into Manhattan and blasted away at passengers, city officials Tuesday evening named a “person of interest” possibly connected to the case.  

Authorities say they want to interview a 62-year-old Philadelphia man, Frank R. James, although they haven’t named him as the suspected shooter behind the 8:24 a.m. attack on the N-line train at the 36th Street station in Brooklyn. That’s where the D, N, and R lines come together in the Sunset Park section of the borough.

“We are truly fortunate that this was not significantly worse than it is,” New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell told reporters Tuesday evening.

person of interest
Members of the New York City Police Department’s bomb squad inspect a U-Haul van believed to be linked to a “person of interest” tied to the Tuesday, April 12, 2022, subway shooting in Brooklyn. Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images.

Investigators believe the shooter detonated two smoke canisters in the train as it approached the station and then fired at least 33 rounds at commuters while the subway slowed to a stop.

They say 10 people were wounded by gunfire and 13 more were treated for smoke inhalation or injuries incurred while they tried to escape the bedlam in the station. No injury is considered life-threatening.

“Clearly this individual boarded the train and was intent on violence,” Sewell said. 

person of interest
Police and emergency responders gather at the site of a reported shooting of multiple people outside of the 36th Street subway station on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Police recovered a Glock 17 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, three extended magazines, a tank believed to contain gasoline, fireworks, a small fuse, two undetonated smoke bombs, a U-Haul truck key, and a hatchet. 

Officers searched a U-Haul truck parked near West 4th Street and Kings Highway in Brooklyn. They suspect the person of interest, James, rented the vehicle.

Authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for any information that helps lead to the arrest of the shooter. 

The case is being investigated by the New York City Police Department, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Members of the New York City Police Department and other first responders rushed to a subway station in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images.

A YouTube channel believed to be linked to James contains 399 bizarre and rambling videos, many of them peppered with expletives and comments about violence, current events, mental health care, the devil, and various elected officials in New York and other places.

They appear to have been recorded over the past three years, the most recent addition uploaded on Monday.

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Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

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