New York authorities have arrested Frank R. James, 62, for Tuesday’s subway attack that wounded at least 10 and injured 13 others, according to reports.
Although authorities said the motive is still unclear, James has made YouTube videos ranting about New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the city’s mental health system, preparing for a “race war” and a desire to kill. James referred to himself as a “victim” of Adams’ mental health policies in the videos.
Adams said he was “briefed on the videos” on Wednesday morning during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and said the police department has “zeroed” in on apprehending the suspect. James was nabbed in Manhattan by Wednesday afternoon and is facing federal terrorism charges and could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
“I just think we need to focus on his apprehension at this time and the police department is going to use those posts and all of the evidence that we’re gathering not only to apprehend him, we also must make sure that he’s prosecuted,” Adams said.
According to reports, the shooter put on a gas mask before setting off two smoke canisters and opening fire on other passengers in a subway car during rush hour in Brooklyn. He shot 10 people, and 13 people were injured in the pandemonium that erupted. None of the injuries are life-threatening.
Authorities said the shooter’s gun, 33 shell casings, 15 bullets, a hatchet and a bag filled with fireworks and smoke bombs were recovered on the scene. Police linked James to the gun and keys that were also found.
According to officials, James rented a U-haul van in Philadelphia that was later discovered in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Authorities believe they acted alone.
Authorities said has an arrest record in New York that stems from 1992 to 1998. He has been arrested nine times in New York for the possession of burglary tools, criminal sex acts, theft of services, criminal tampering and on a New Jersey warrant.
He was arrested in New Jersey three times for trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct. The last arrest in New Jersey was in 2007.
New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said they are not calling the videos “threats,” however, “they were general topics of concern.”
A YouTube user identified as James has amassed more than 4,000 subscribers on the social media platform. The account for prophet oftruth88 was “terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines” on Wednesday morning.
According to reports, James’ posts date back to 2016. He used profane language, disparaged women and made racist comments against white and Black people.
James took issue with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s marriage to a white man, and in another video said the Ukraine-Russia conflict was a prelude to a national race war, according to reports.
“They’re white. You’re not. They’re doing that to each other? What do they think they’re going to do to you?” he fumed. “It’s just a matter of time before these white motherf—ers say, ‘Hey listen, enough is enough, these [N-words] gotta go.’ What’re you going to do? You gonna fight. And guess what? You gonna die.”
James also talks about his own death in the videos and wanting to “exterminate” certain groups, according to reports. In another clip, posted April 6, the suspect talks about a need for more mass shootings.
In a video posted the day before the attack, James said he had a desire to kill people, but he didn’t want to go to jail, NBC News reports.
“I was briefed by the police department on some of his social media posts,” the mayor said. “He appears to be all over the place, according to the briefing.”
James also claimed in videos that he suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. In another video from Feb. 20, he reportedly sits in front of photos of who he claims were the mental health outreach workers he dealt with while he was in crisis in the 1970s through the 1990s in New York.
“So as you listen to the mayor talking about how they want to bring in health workers, they want to help the homeless … there’s no help,” he said. “It’s going to fail! Because all these m—–f—-ers are predators. They’re homosexual predators trying to turn everybody out.”
Adams told reporters he was unaware of what James was referring to in the video about the city’s mental health system.
“People look at the mental health system, and they question some of the things that have happened throughout the generations,” Adams said. “Our goal is to fix our mental health system. But it’s clear that this individual wanted to create terror and violence.”
Adams said he is considering installing gun detection devices on the city’s subway system and working with the transit authority to figure out why cameras at the subway station were not working.
“We must have a safe, reliable, dependable subway system,” he said. “Oftentimes, when people hear of metal detectors, they immediately think of the airport model. Those are not the only models that are available. There are new models that are being used at ballgames, ballparks, hospitals where you’re not stopping to go through your belongings. You’re simply walking through a device.”