The suspected gunman in the New York City subway shooting has been arrested
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
About 30 hours after a mass shooting in the New York City subway, Mayor Eric Adams had this to say.
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ERIC ADAMS: My fellow New Yorkers, we got him. We got him.
CHANG: The suspect, Frank James, is accused of firing 33 times on a subway train during rush hour yesterday morning. No one died, but 10 people were shot, and several others were hurt in the incident. NPR's Jasmine Garsd joins us now from New York. Hi, Jasmine.
JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: Hi.
CHANG: All right. So what more can you tell us about this arrest?
GARSD: Frank James is believed to be the shooter, and he was apprehended on a Manhattan street corner just a few hours ago at around 1:45 p.m. this afternoon. He's 62 years old. He was arrested without incident. Bystander videos show police taking him into custody. And it came from a tip.
CHANG: Wow. OK. So what do we know about this man so far?
GARSD: What we know about him so far is that he had a myriad of prior arrests from various states dating back to the early '90s, and they ranged from criminal sex acts to theft. He seems to have lived a very chaotic life, moving across cities and states. And he also posted quite a few videos on YouTube and Facebook, criticizing New York Mayor Eric Adams and criticizing his policies on crime and homelessness. And he talked about having PTSD. I'm sure in the coming days, a much clearer picture is going to emerge.
CHANG: Yeah, I'm sure. Well, at this point, what comes next in the investigation?
GARSD: Well, first off, authorities still don't know why he allegedly went on this attack yesterday. He is now facing federal charges and up to life in prison for this. So to that end, authorities made it clear this investigation remains open, and they are still asking for tips on how and why James did this.
CHANG: OK. Well, while his motive remains unclear, you know, the shooting - it occurred as New Yorkers are being asked to start commuting back to their offices just as COVID numbers are declining. And, Jasmine, I understand that you were on the subway today. Like, what was the mood on these trains? What did it feel like to be inside?
GARSD: Well, this is a notoriously tough city. Almost everyone I spoke to told me they were just trying to go about their day as usual. In recent months, there have been very violent incidents on the subway, some deadly. Carlos Mannobanda (ph) was heading to a doctor's appointment this morning, and he said he was a little bit nervous. I asked him, what would make you feel better right now?
CARLOS MANNOBANDA: More police activity, interaction with customers and - presence, more presence, I think.
GARSD: I heard this from a few people on the subway this morning. But, you know, a lot of people I spoke to also told me they don't think the answer is more police. They pointed out that NYPD has already increased police presence in the subways before this latest shooting happened. Eli Garcia (ph) was heading to work, and he told me he wasn't nervous. He just felt that this was an anomaly. And I asked him, what should be done to avoid these types of violent outbursts?
ELI GARCIA: Fund services that will help the people that need the help. Like, homeless services, mental health are a great start.
GARSD: And this is kind of at the heart of the debate here in New York City and, I think, in cities across the U.S. We're seeing gun violence rise. And the question is, is the solution more police, better mental health and homeless services, all of the above? It's hard to say.
CHANG: Yeah. Well, I know that there was some criticism of how long it took to find this suspect. What do you make of that criticism? Was it fair?
GARSD: Well, you know, this has to do with the fact that at least one of the cameras at the station where the shooting happened weren't working. And people I spoke to today did express that. We pay taxes. We pay the transit system. Why don't we get the basics?
CHANG: That is NPR New York correspondent Jasmine Garsd. Thank you so much, Jasmine.
GARSD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.