New York subway horror: Suspect wanted by authorities arrested

The man suspected of having fired in the New York subway at rush hour on Tuesday morning, injuring 23, including 10 by bullets, was arrested on Wednesday, reported several American media citing police sources.

• Read also: Shooting: terror in the New York subway

The suspect, who had wreaked havoc on the subway the day before, was found in Manhattan, according to NBC television.

“We will continue to tighten the trap around him and stop him”, promised in the morning the Democratic mayor of New York, Eric Adams, expected at the turn on the theme of the fight against crime, he who had made it a campaign theme to be elected last year.

The police had been looking for more than 24 hours for Frank James, a 62-year-old African American, accused of having repeatedly fired on an N line train at the 36th street station in the south of Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, the NYPD had released photos of this individual, Frank James, indicating that he had rented the van found in Brooklyn and whose key was discovered at the crime scene.

On Wednesday, New Yorkers received an “urgent” message on their phones asking them to deliver any useful information to investigators. A $50,000 reward had been put on the table.

  • Listen to the interview with Martine Hébert, Delegate General of Quebec in New York on QUB radio:

No choice

The man posted various videos on YouTube, where he delivers long political tirades, sometimes virulent, and criticizes Eric Adams, which prompted the police to tighten security around the mayor.

As the hunt for the shooter, described as “dangerous” the day before, continued, millions of New Yorkers took to commuting to work, some posting selfies on social media to show that life was getting back to normal.

“I don’t really have a choice, I have to take the metro. I hope it will be safer today. It felt a little emptier,” said passenger Laura Swalm, 49, who lives in neighboring New Jersey.

“I always pay attention to what surrounds me since September 11 (2001). But there have been more incidents on the docks recently, so I’m paying more attention,” she told AFP.

The Twitter account of the New York subway, one of the largest networks in the world, announced early Wednesday morning the return of “full service” on all lines, in particular at the “36th street” station in southern Brooklyn, where the shooter has raged and where several lines pass.

33 bullets fired

Tuesday morning, around 8:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. GMT), at a time when the metro trains are crowded, the individual, who was wearing a gas mask, lit two devices which smoked the car, then shot at the passengers while as the train entered the station.

“We were really lucky that it wasn’t much more serious,” said NYPD Chief Keechant Sewell, summarizing the authorities’ relief after the attack where the suspect — still at large — fired 33 rounds.

“All you see is black smoke, and I turned to the right, and I saw this guy with a mask,” testified on CNN one of the victims, Hourari Benkada, since his hospital bed.

“The shooting lasted about a minute, I would say about ten shots (…). I have never heard so many shots coming out of a handgun… (…) He probably had extended magazines or another firearm”, added this man, hit by bullet at the level of the knee. At the scene, investigators found a handgun and three magazines.

Tuesday’s attack came as New York has faced a spike in crime since the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of homicides rising from 319 in 2019 to 488 in 2021, although the annual toll remains well below the more than 2,000 per year recorded in the early 1990s.

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