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Police focus on van renter in Brooklyn subway shooting probe – Press Telegram

By JIM MUSTIAN, JENNIFER PELTZ and MICHAEL R. SISAK

NEW YORK (AP) – Police say the gunman in the Brooklyn subway shooting fired at least 33 bullets at the train at rush hour, killing 10 people.

Police say they are looking for a “person of interest” who rented a van that they believe could be related to the shooting, although they have not established a definitive link.

Detective Chief James Essig says the van’s key was found along with a semi-automatic pistol, an ax, smoke grenades and other items at the scene.

Since then, police have found the van empty. They say the person of interest is a man with addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.

THIS IS A NEWS UPDATE. The above AP story follows below.

A gunman with a gas mask and a construction vest threw a smoke bomb at a subway train at rush hour in Brooklyn and shot at least 10 people on Tuesday, authorities said. Police searched the city for the shooter and found a rental van possibly related to the violence.

A horror scene unfolded as the frightened passengers got off the train while others limped out. At least one pilot crashed on the platform.

“My subway door opened in a calamity. It was smoke and blood and people were screaming,” witness Sam Carcamo told 1010 WINS radio station. Smoke came out of the train car when the door opened, he added.

Five people were in critical condition but were expected to survive. At least 29 were treated in hospitals for gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation and other illnesses.

The shooting broke out on a train that entered a station in the Sunset Park neighborhood, about a 15-minute drive from Manhattan and where Hispanic and Asian communities predominate.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the attack was not being investigated as terrorism, but that it “did not rule out anything.” The motive of the shooter was unknown.

Authorities handed the officers a photo they believed represented the gunman and the Arizona license plate number of a U-Haul van for them to take into account, two law enforcement officials said. In the early hours of the night, police found an unoccupied U-Haul van in Brooklyn, one of the officials said.

Police closed a street about four miles from the scene of the shooting and cleared nearby businesses waiting for a platoon of bombs and a highly specialized emergency unit.

Investigators found a credit card at the scene of Tuesday’s shooting that led them to identify a person of interest, said one of the law enforcement officers, who added that the credit card was used to rent the U-Haul van that police located. and Brooklyn. The two officials were not allowed to discuss the investigation and spoke with AP on condition of anonymity.

Investigators recovered a pistol at the scene, along with several smoke devices and other items they are analyzing, officers said. They said the suspect is believed to have at least two extended magazines.

Investigators believe the jammed weapon prevented the suspect from continuing to fire, officers said. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has completed an urgent search to identify the manufacturer, seller and initial owner of the weapon.

The attack worried a city about the rise in gun violence and the ever-present threat of terrorism. It has left some New Yorkers nervous about running the busiest subway system in the country and has led officials to increase police at transportation centers from Philadelphia to Connecticut.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced last fall that it had set up security cameras at the city’s 472 subway stations, saying they would put criminals on a “fast track to justice.” But at the station where the train arrived, the cameras apparently malfunctioned.

MTA chief Janno Lieber told television interviewers he did not know why the cameras were not working. But he said police had “many different options” for cameras elsewhere on the subway line to see the shooter.

The video of a pilot, filmed through a closed door between subway cars, shows a person in a hoodie raising one arm and pointing at something while five knocks sound. In another video, smoke and people come out of a subway car, some limping.

“Someone call 911!” one person shouts.

Other videos and photos of the scene show people watching bloodied passengers lying on the platform – some of whom appear to be small puddles of blood – and another person on the floor of a subway car.

Pilot Juliana Fonda, a WNYC-FM broadcast engineer, told her Gothamist news site that the passengers in the car behind her began knocking on the front door.

“There were a lot of loud pops and there was smoke in the other car,” he said. “And people were trying to get in and they couldn’t. They were knocking on the door to get in our car.”

As police searched for the shooter, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned New Yorkers to be vigilant.

“This individual is still loose. This person is dangerous,” the Democrat said at a news conference shortly after noon. “This is an active shooter situation right now in New York City.”

Firefighters and police officers responded to reports of an explosion, but Sewell said at the news conference that there were no known explosive devices. Several smoke devices were found at the scene, Mayor’s spokesman Fabien Levy said.

After people got off the train, fast transit workers took passengers to another train through the platform for safety, said Lieber, MTA president.

High school student John Butsikaris was on the other train when he saw a driver urging everyone to get on. He thought it might be a worldly problem until the next stop, when he heard screams for medical attention and his train was evacuated.

“I’m definitely shocked,” the 15-year-old told The Associated Press. “Even though I didn’t see what happened, I’m still scared, because it was like a few feet away from me what happened.”

No traffic workers were physically injured, according to his union.

In Menlo, Iowa, President Joe Biden praised “the first responders who jumped into action, including civilians, civilians, who did not hesitate to help their fellow passengers and tried to protect them.”

Adams, who is isolating himself after a positive test of COVID-19 on Sunday, said in a video statement that the city “will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized, not even by a single individual.”

New York City has faced a series of high-profile shootings and bloodshed in recent months, including on city subways. One of the most shocking was in January, when a woman was pushed to death in front of a train by a stranger.

Adams, a Democrat just over 100 days after his tenure, made crime crackdowns, especially on the subway, a focus of his first administration, pledging to send more police to stations and platforms for regular patrols. It was not immediately clear if officers were already inside the station when the shootings occurred.

Brooklyn’s Danny Mastrogiorgio had just dropped off his son at school when he saw a group of frightened passengers, some injured, climbing the stairs at 25th Street Station. At least two had visible wounds to their legs, he said.

“It was crazy,” he told the AP. “No one knew exactly what was going on.”

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Associated Press journalists Michael Balsamo in Washington and Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Deepti Hajela, Michelle L. Price and David Porter in New York contributed to this report.

Police focus on van renter in Brooklyn subway shooting probe – Press Telegram Source link Police focus on van renter in Brooklyn subway shooting probe – Press Telegram

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