NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said 62-year-old Frank R. James was spotted by passersby in the East Village on Wednesday afternoon.
Among the calls that came to Crime Stoppers was a person who was allegedly the suspect himself.
According to police sources, James called the NYPD and told them that he believed the police were looking for him and wanted to surrender.
“I think you are looking for me,” the good man reportedly said. “I see my picture in all the news and I will be around this McDonalds.”
They say he gave a name and a description of what he was wearing. He reportedly told police his phone was dying and that he would either be at McDonald’s to charge his phone or in front when police arrived.
By the time police responded, he had left McDonald’s on East 6th Street and First Avenue.
When the police officers who arrived did not find him at the restaurant, they drove to the neighborhood looking for him. James was located and arrested without incident in St. Louis. Mark’s Place and First Avenue and relocated to 9th District.
“My fellow New Yorkers, we got it,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “We caught him.”
James will be charged under a federal law banning terrorist and other violent attacks on the public transportation system. The federal government will also accuse him of crossing state lines.
“We hope this arrest will bring some consolation to the victims and the people of New York City,” Sewell said. “We used every resource we had at our disposal to gather and process important information that directly linked Mr. James to the shooting. We managed to shrink his world fast. “He had nowhere to run.”
See the full special report on James’s arrest here:
Officials say the investigation is still ongoing and urge anyone with additional information to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Contact Line at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA ( 74782).
James will face life in prison if convicted of the attack, which left at least 29 people shot or otherwise injured, shaking a city already frustrated by the sharp rise in crime.
Officials said any possible motive remained unclear, but eyewitnesses said the lone gunman was seen muttering to himself wearing a reflective vest before putting on the gas mask and pulling a canister out of his bag which then filled the car with water. . He then started firing.
Ten people were hit by bullets, while others were either grazed or injured in the chaos that followed.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, and authorities said a magazine loaded with the weapon could have saved lives.
Following the shooting, NYPD Detective Chief James Essig said James boarded an R train entering the station and made a stop before leaving 25th Street. After that, James was seen again at a Park Slope subway stop less than an hour later before disappearing from sight.
Authorities identified James as the man of interest Tuesday night, but on Wednesday, after an investigation linked James to the crime in many ways, Mayor Eric Adams said he was considered a suspected and wanted fugitive.
This determination was taken overnight after more than 18 hours of research involving videos, cell phone data, and witness interviews.
“There was a clear desire to create terror,” Adams said. “If you carried a smoke bomber or a semi-automatic gas mask with a gas mask and in a very methodical way injured … innocent New Yorkers, that’s horror.”
While the cameras at the station were not working, law enforcement officers were able to take a picture of the suspect from the video of a passer-by from a mobile phone. The NYPD then located a U-Haul truck on Kings Highway in Gravesend believed to have James driven to New York from Philadelphia on Monday.
They said a pillow inside indicated he might be sleeping there, and a nearby subway station is where they believe he entered the system.
The truck’s keys were found in the perpetrator’s belongings, which they left behind at the subway station, said the head of the NYPD detectives, James Essig.
A semi-automatic Glock 9 mm pistol, three cartridges, an ax, petrol, four smoke grenades (two detonated and two unexploded) and a bag of consumer fireworks, as well as a credit card according to the authorities were also found at the scene. used to rent U-Haul. The gun was purchased from a licensed pawn shop in Ohio in 2011, according to the ATF.
The gun and the purchase of a gas mask on eBay, are among the evidence that raised James from a person of interest to a suspect, sources said.
Investigators were more comfortable calling James a suspect after re-interviewing witnesses who initially gave a description of the gunman’s height that did not match James’s 6-foot skeleton.
Phantom Fireworks confirmed in a statement that James bought products in Wisconsin that were believed to have been left behind at 36th Street Subway Station.
Authorities did not find any significant felony arrests in James’ criminal history, other than a few misdemeanor charges. But James was known in the NYPD for a sheet of rap that spanned six years, from 1992 to 1998, with nine previous arrests.
James’s social media posts with profanities seem to be sharply critical of the mayor for his homeless policies, including videos full of racist and sexist insults and riots about the repression of people living in the subway.
Mayor Adams appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday and said officials were considering using state-of-the-art metal detectors in the city’s subway system.
“These are not the traditional metal detectors you see at airports,” Adams said. “Technology has advanced so much. When you think about it, we have not advanced with technology. Cities … when it comes to better protecting citizens, I’m open to any technology.”
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