A man arrested and charged with a terrorism offence after an attack on the New York subway called police himself and told them to come and get him, officials say.
Ten people were shot and wounded, and a dozen others were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries on Tuesday, when a gunman set off smoke grenades in a crowded subway carriage before firing 33 shots with a 9mm handgun.
Frank James, 62, was taken into custody in Manhattan and charged on Wednesday.
He had called the New York Police department’s tipline earlier in the day to tell authorities he was inside a McDonald’s and to come and get him.
Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said James was gone by the time officers got to the restaurant, but they soon spotted him on a corner nearby.
Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the federal terror charge at a news conference shortly after his arrest.
Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace said the charge carries with it a sentence of up to life in prison.
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Investigators announced on Tuesday afternoon they were searching for James, who is believed to have rented a van possibly connected with the incident.
What is known about Frank James?
Police trying to determine motive
The authorities have been examining rambling, profanity-filled social media videos in which James decried the US as a racist place awash with violence and rallied against New York city’s mayor, Eric Adams. The videos contain violent language and bigoted comments.
Police have been examining the videos to try and find a possible motive. In one video, posted a day before the attack, James criticises crime against black people and says drastic action is needed.
“You got kids going in here now taking machine guns and mowing down innocent people,” James says.
“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”.
How a U-Haul key linked gunman to the scene
Five gunshot victims remain in a critical condition but all 10 of the wounded are expected to survive.
The gunman escaped in the chaos at 36th Street Station but left behind numerous clues including the gun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van.
It was that key that led investigators to James, a native of the New York City area.
The gun allegedly used in the shooting was purchased by James at a pawn shop – a licensed firearms dealer – in Columbus Ohio in 2011.
The van was found unoccupied near a station, which is where investigators determined the gunman had entered the subway system.
No explosives or firearms were found in the van. Police did find other items, including pillows, suggesting he may have been sleeping or planned to sleep in the van.
Surveillance video shows James driving up from Philadelphia and leaving the van early Tuesday morning. Other footage shows him entering the subway station in Brooklyn with a big bag.
‘It was blood, smoke and screaming’
Sam Carcamo, a witness, told a local radio station he saw a gigantic billow of smoke pouring out of the train once the door opened.
“My subway door opened into calamity. It was smoke and blood and people screaming,” he said.
A video captured by a bystander shows people lying on the subway platform surrounded by what appear to be small puddles of blood, as a loudspeaker announcement tells everyone to get on a train.