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NYC man will not face charges for ‘self-defense’ shooting on Brooklyn subway

In this screen grab from a video, police officers are shown at the scene of a subway shooting in Brooklyn, New York, on March 14, 2024. — WABC

(NEW YORK) — No charges are being filed against the 32-year-old man who fired a gun on a New York City subway, critically injuring one person, prosecutors said, citing “self-defense.”

“Yesterday’s shooting inside a crowded subway car was shocking and deeply upsetting,” Oren Yaniv, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement Friday. “The investigation into this tragic incident is ongoing but, at this stage, evidence of self-defense precludes us from filing any criminal charges against the shooter.”

The 36-year-old shooting victim was armed with a knife and gun and acting as the aggressor when he entered the northbound A train in Brooklyn around 4:45 p.m., according to law enforcement sources.

The 36-year-old later got into a dispute with the 32-year-old subway rider and pulled a gun out, police said. He was disarmed by the 32-year-old and shot with his own gun, according to police.

The incident began when the 32-year-old got into a verbal and then physical dispute with the shooting victim, possibly over a subway seat, police said. A woman who was with the 32-year-old stabbed the 36-year-old in the back, cellphone video from a fellow rider revealed, according to authorities.

After he was stabbed, the 36-year-old man asked, “Did you stab me?” before pulling a gun from his jacket and asking again, “You stabbed me, right?” according to police.

The physical altercation continued, with the 32-year-old man then grabbing the gun from the 36-year-old, police said.

Shots were fired as the train was pulling into the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station, NYPD Transit Chief Michael Kemper said.

Terrified commuters who were on the train and the station platform ducked for cover during the shooting.

No one else was injured, police said.

“There were multiple police officers in this station just feet away from when the train pulled in, who heard the shots and moved in right way,” Kemper said.

The 36-year-old is in critical but stable condition, Kemper said. He was shot four times — once in the neck, once in the chest and twice in the right side of the face — and has two stab wounds to the back, according to law enforcement sources.

The 36-year-old has 10 prior arrests, according to law enforcement sources.

Ten to 15 minutes before the shooting, the 36-year-old entered the Nostrand Avenue subway without paying his fare and got onto the A train, NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said Friday.

He was in possession of both a knife and a .380-caliber Ruger before the shooting, according to law enforcement sources.

Maddrey stressed that enforcing fare evasion could result in stopping an armed man.

The unidentified woman accused in the stabbing, who is a friend of the shooting suspect, is being sought for questioning for a potential assault charge, according to law enforcement sources.

“This is a very active case,” Kemper said. “If anyone has any information, whether you were on the train, in the station or heard something, please call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.”

The shooting comes one week after Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that New York National Guard troops and New York State Police troopers would be assisting city officers in protecting the subways.

A NYPD police transit bureau operates inside the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station.

MTA Chairman Janno Lieber decried the violence and reiterated his call for more gun control.

“The real victims are the people I saw in those videos,” he told reporters. “They are just trying to go about with their lives. Just get rid of the guns.”

ABC News’ Joyce Philippe and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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