Published On: Wed, Apr 13th, 2022

Frank James, suspect in Brooklyn subway shooting, discussed violence in YouTube clips

The man now considered a suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting appeared to post videos of himself on social media expressing bigoted views, violence and criticism of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ policies addressing public safety and homeless outreach on subways.

New York police on Wednesday identified Frank R. James, 62, as a suspect in the Tuesday morning rush-hour attack that wounded at least 10 and injured 13 others. He was previously just a person of interest.

A $50,000 reward is being offered to find James, who police said had addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia.

Police said James rented a U-Haul van, the keys of which were found at the scene of the shooting in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

One of the photos police shared of James was a screenshot of a video from the “prophet of truth 88” YouTube channel, a platform where he appears to go on lengthy, profanity-filled rants and express controversial views.

He talks about death in several videos and discusses a “race war” and the desire to “exterminate” certain groups of people in one clip. In another, posted April 6, he says there needs to be more mass shootings, claiming the problem wouldn’t be the shooter, rather the environment they exist in.

In a video posted Monday, James said he had experienced the desire to kill people but he didn’t want to go to jail. In one uploaded March 18, he claimed he suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

In another video posted Feb. 27, he appeared disappointed that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was married to a white man.

Image: Emergency personnel including the FBI search a moving truck
Emergency personnel including the FBI search a moving truck during an ongoing investigation in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 12, 2022. John Minchillo / AP

James also used YouTube to share his thoughts on the mayor. In a video posted Feb. 23, he slammed Adams’ homeless outreach efforts on subways, alluding that he experienced homelessness himself. He again criticized the mayor’s plans for public safety on trains and efforts to help homeless people in a clip uploaded March 1.

James’ posts date back to 2016. He has used slurs, denigrated women and made racist comments — including against Black people. He documented his journey from the Midwest to Philadelphia in March, often talking to the camera as he was behind the wheel. 

Adams acknowledged the controversial posts on NBC’s “TODAY” show on Wednesday morning.

“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.”

“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 evidence that we’re gathering, not only to apprehend him, we also must make sure that he’s prosecuted,” Adams said.

The mayor’s security has been beefed up since Tuesday.

New Yorkers started their morning commute Wednesday with few answers as to where the suspect may be and a motive.

In the Tuesday attack, the gunman donned a gas mask and set off two smoke canisters then started shooting aboard a Manhattan-bound N train it rolled into the 36th Street Station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, around 8:30 a.m., New York City police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

Image: Frank James,Frank R. James
New York City police issued a photo of Frank R. James, a suspect in Tuesday’s subway shooting in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.NYPD via AP

The shooter opened fire at least 33 times, Sewell said in a Tuesday evening press conference.

None of the wounded have life-threatening injuries.

The attack has fueled unease as it comes amid rising violent crime on subways.

Investigators recovered from the subway station a gun with a magazine attached, two additional magazines, ammunition, a hatchet and a container of what is believed to be gasoline, police said. They also recovered a bag containing consumer grade fireworks.

Police had said they were looking for a man believed to be about 5-foot-5 and 180 pounds, wearing a neon orange vest during the attack.

“Clearly this person boarded the train and was intent on violence,” Sewell said.

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