Frank James, suspected Brooklyn subway shooter, shared violent views online

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Brooklyn shooting: New York chief of detectives says investigation into motive still ongoing
WATCH: NYPD say investigation into shooter's motive still ongoing – Apr 13, 2022

NOTE: The following story contains language and ideologies that are offensive. Please read at your own discretion.

Frank James, the man suspected in Tuesday’s Brooklyn subway shooting, appears to have uploaded videos to social media that show him ranting about violence, criticizing New York Mayor Eric Adams and sharing bigoted views.

James, 62, was identified as a suspect Wednesday in the morning rush-hour attack that left 10 people with gunshot wounds and at least a dozen others injured.

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NBC News reports that James was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon.

According to NBC, police shared screenshot photos of James from the “prophetoftruth88” YouTube channel, which has now been disabled and all videos removed. The news network says James shared lengthy rants filled with profanity and expressed a desire to “exterminate” groups of people in one video.

“Mr. Mayor, I’m a victim of your mental health program,” James said in one lengthy video, according to several media outlets.

“I’m … now full of hate, full of anger, and full of bitterness.”

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Brooklyn shooting: New York mayor says suspect in custody, commissioner says Crimestoppers tip led to arrest

In another video, he says there needs to be more mass shootings.

“This nation was born in violence, it’s kept alive by violence or the threat thereof and it’s going to die a violent death. There’s nothing going to stop that,” James said.

A Feb. 20 video said the mayor and governor’s plan to address homelessness and safety in the subway system “is doomed for failure” and James referred to himself as a “victim” of the city’s mental health programs. A Jan. 25 video criticized Adams’ plan to end gun violence.

New York City Police Department personnel gather at the entrance to a subway stop in the Brooklyn borough of New York on April 12. Five people were shot Tuesday morning at a subway station in Brooklyn, New York, law enforcement sources said. John Minchillo/AP

In his most recent video, posted Monday, James said he wished to kill people but didn’t want to end up in prison.

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He also criticized crime against Black people and said drastic action is needed.

“You got kids going in here now taking machine guns and mowing down innocent people,” James said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s not going to get better until we make it better,” he said, adding that he thought things would only change if certain people were “stomped, kicked and tortured” out of their “comfort zone.”

In a video from mid-March, he also claimed to be living with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to Rolling Stone, the YouTube channel was home to hundreds of videos, which featured titles such as “why we need more racial profiling,” “should the black woman be forcibly sterilized,” and “TO KILL OR NOT TO KILL.”

The magazine reports that James often railed against racial and ethnic groups, including whites, Blacks, Jews and Latinos. He implied that a race war between Blacks and whites is imminent and called people of colour “a bunch of turds in a toilet,” waiting to be “flushed” down the drain by society.

Click to play video: '‘I was scared’: Witnesses describe terrifying scene after 16 people shot at Brooklyn subway station'
‘I was scared’: Witnesses describe terrifying scene after 16 people shot at Brooklyn subway station

In one video viewed by Rolling Stone, he called Sept. 11, 2001 “the most beautiful day in the history of this country.”

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Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called the posts “concerning” and officials tightened security for mayor Adams, who was already isolating following a positive COVID-19 test Sunday.

NYPD officers patrol platforms at the 36th Street subway station where a shooting attack occurred the previous day during the morning commute on Wednesday. John Minchillo/AP

Police said Tuesday that James rented a van possibly connected to Tuesday’s violence, but that they weren’t sure whether he was responsible for the shooting itself.

Adams, speaking to NPR on Wednesday morning, did not offer details on why officials had upgraded James from a person of interest to a suspect beyond citing “new information that became available to the team.”

The City of New York issued an emergency alert to residents Wednesday morning, asking for tips from the public and saying James is now “wanted.”

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We’re going to catch this person,” Adams said on CNN’s New Day on Wednesday. “We’re going to bring him to justice and hold him responsible for this horrific act on innocent people that are utilizing our subway system.”

Several hours later, James was taken into custody.

The manhunt comes one day after a gunman sent off smoke grenades in a crowded subway car and then fired at least 33 shots with a 9 mm handgun, police said. Five gunshot victims were in critical condition but all 10 wounded in the shooting were expected to survive. At least a dozen others who escaped gunshot wounds were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

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The shooter fled in the chaos, leaving behind the gun, extended magazines, a hatchet, detonated and undetonated smoke grenades, a black garbage can, a rolling cart, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van.

That key led investigators to James, who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said. The van was later found, unoccupied, near a station where investigators determined the gunman had entered the subway system, Essig said.

– With files from the Associated Press

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