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NYC subway shooting updates: Police name person of interest in investigation

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The New York City Police Department has announced a person of interest in connection with Tuesday morning's subway shooting in Brooklyn.

Investigators said they are looking for Frank James and released a photo of the person, asking the public to call NYPD Crime Stoppers with any information on his current whereabouts.

A gunman donned a gas mask, detonated a smoke canister and opened fire on a New York City subway train Tuesday morning, shooting 10 people and sparking panic during the rush-hour commute. The suspect fired 33 times, according to police.

Twenty-nine victims went to Brooklyn hospitals with various injuries. Five people were critically injured and have since stabilized, according to a fire department official.

Police described the gunman, who is still on the run, as an "active shooter." The bloodshed comes amid a surge in crime on New York City's transit system.

The shooting, reported just before 8:30 a.m. local time, erupted on a Manhattan-bound N subway car as it approached the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference.

According to a police official, the suspect was seen mumbling before he put on the gas mask, released a smoke canister commonly bought online and opened fire with a .380 caliber handgun.

The gun jammed during the incident, according to a police official.

Investigators recovered the gun, three extended magazines, a hatchet, gasoline, four smoke grenades and a bag of consumer-grade fireworks, according to police. The gun was not stolen, police said.

A credit card was also recovered from the scene and investigators said the card was used to rent a U-Haul, according to a police source. Keys to the vehicle were also found in the shooter's possession, according to police.

Investigators located the vehicle in Gravesend, Brooklyn, on Tuesday afternoon, roughly five miles southeast of the subway station and were investigating to determine if it has any connection to the suspect, according to the police.

Police later said James rented the van in Philadelphia. There is a $50,000 reward for information that leads to his wherabouts.

The NYPD said it is still piecing together clues about the suspected shooter.

“At this time, we still do not know the suspect’s motivation. Clearly this individual boarded the train and was intent on violence,” police commissioner Keechant Sewell said at an evening press conference.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams told New York station WABC that police are working on getting as much evidence and clues from the vehicle as they can.

"We want to make sure that all of the evidence that is gathered is going to assist us in apprehending this person. We must make sure that we have it protected correctly so that we can convict this person for," he said.

There were no working cameras in the 36th Street station, according to a police official. The cameras, which are aimed at the turnstiles, didn't transmit in real-time due to a glitch computer malfunction, a source said. The same glitch impacted cameras at the stops before and after 36th Street.

Investigators are looking into how this malfunction happened.

But police were able to get an image of the suspect from a bystander’s cellphone video, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

Yav Montano, 24, was on the train when he said the whole car filled with smoke.

"It was hard to breathe, it was hard to see. It was hard to hear or pay attention to what was going on with the chaos that was happening," he said.

"I didn't see anything because the smoke in the train was so thick. I couldn't even see halfway down the length of the train car," he added.

"After the smoke went on, there was a bunch of popping, which I thought at first was firecrackers," he went on. "I ducked behind a chair to protect myself."

From a crouching position on the floor, Montano said, "I saw a lot of blood on the floor. Too much blood."

Montano said the doors opened at 36th Street about three to four minutes later. "As soon as the doors opened, everyone started to pour out and run," he recalled.

Multiple smoke devices and a bag of commercial-grade fireworks have been recovered, according to a law enforcement official.

Sewell said there are no known explosives on subways and a motive is still unknown.

After initially saying the shooting was not being investigated as an act of terrorism, Sewell later said police are "not ruling anything out."

Sewell described the suspect as a man wearing a green construction-type vest and a gray-hooded sweatshirt. The suspect has a "heavy build" and is believed to be about 5 feet 5 inches tall, Sewell said.

A man who works in a bodega outside the subway told ABC New York station WABC about 10 to 15 people ran to his store for safety.

"It was horrifying," he said.

"I saw three or four people with gunshot wounds to their legs. They just fell to floor before the cops came...They just stayed here for a couple of minutes before the coast was clear," he said. "Everyone was terrified, I was terrified."

A senior federal law enforcement source told ABC News authorities are concerned this shooting showed a level of planning and commitment to kill scores of commuters during rush hour. The source said it is too early to know if the suspect acted alone.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have been briefed on the situation, the White House said.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday afternoon that he's "praying for those that are injured and all those touched by that trauma."

"And we're grateful for all the first responders … including civilians, who didn't hesitate to help their fellow passengers," Biden said.

Freelance photographer Derek French, who was on the platform when the incident took place, told ABC News how he and two other good Samaritans created makeshift tourniquets out of a jacket and applied them to the wounded.

"When I saw the pool of blood from one of the victims I essentially just snapped into first-aid mode," French said, noting he'd previously trained with the Red Cross.

"It wasn't a second thought, it was that I needed to do that," he said.

The FBI is assisting and officials from the ATF are at the scene.

Later in the evening, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul visited victims who were recuperating at Maimondes Hospital

One of the victims was an 18-year-old student on the way to school, she said. The student was awaiting surgery, according to the governor.

“He seems to be doing well, and is in very good spirits, as well as his mother and grandmother who are there,” Hochul said.

The governor also said she spoke to the mother of a 16-year-old victim who had just undergone surgery.

“All she has is her son," she added. "So I had a long, long hug with her and let her know that we send the love of all New Yorkers."

Anyone with information, video or photos related to the shooting is urged to call 800-577-TIPS.

 

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