A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Frank James with conducting a violent attack on a mass transportation vehicle in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1992(a)(7) and (b)(1). The charge, terrorist attacks or other violence against a mass transportation system, relates to the April 12, 2022, mass shooting on the New York City subway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. James was arrested earlier today by New York City police officers in Manhattan and will make his initial appearance tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), John DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York (ATF) and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrest and charge.
“As alleged, the defendant committed a heinous and premeditated attack on ordinary New Yorkers during their morning subway commute,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “All New Yorkers have the right to expect that they will be safe as they travel throughout our great city and use our vital transportation systems. I am grateful to our law enforcement partners, the first responders and the everyday New Yorkers who stepped up during this crisis and showed the best of our city. And, we continue to pray for the victims and their loved ones as they recover from this traumatic event, both physically and emotionally.”
Mr. Peace praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies.
“Yesterday, as everyday New Yorkers commuted through Brooklyn on our subway system, Frank James – as alleged – committed a horrific act that resulted in an around-the-clock effort by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, the NYPD, and the ATF to find him and bring him to justice. Thanks to the incredible work by all involved to identify James and get the proper information out to the public, he’s in federal custody and New Yorkers can breathe a little easier in our city today,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“Today’s arrest of Frank James was in large part due to the vigilance and a concerted effort by New Yorkers to aid law enforcement in the apprehension of violent criminals. We at ATF applaud the public’s engagement and participation in providing vital information to apprehend James, and we hope for a speedy recovery for all victims. ATF will continue to utilize our nationwide Crime Gun Intelligence capabilities to support our partners in the continued investigation of Tuesday’s horrific attack on the NYC subway,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge DeVito.
“Today, after nearly 30 hours of dogged police work, Frank James was arrested by the NYPD without incident,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “From the moment Mr. James committed this appalling crime, the police began shrinking his world until he had nowhere to turn – and the people of our city were working right alongside us. So together with our law enforcement partners at the FBI, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, I want to thank New Yorkers for their vigilance and their help in taking this violent criminal off our streets.”
As set forth in the complaint, during rush hour on the morning of April 12, 2022, James used a Glock 17 pistol he purchased in Ohio to conduct a mass shooting on an N subway train in Brooklyn. James, dressed in an orange reflective jacket, yellow hard hat, and surgical mask, set off a smoke-emitting device in one of the train cars before firing at subway riders. James had arrived in New York earlier that day in a rental van driven from Pennsylvania. He parked the van on Kings Highway, approximately two blocks from the entrance to an N-train station, near where the shooting took place. After the attack, James abandoned a bag containing, among other items, fireworks, a plastic container containing gasoline, and a torch.
In videos he posted publicly on YouTube before the attack, James made various statements about the New York City subway system. Among other things, James addressed statements to New York City’s mayor: “What are you doing, brother? What’s happening with this homeless situation?” and “Every car I went to wa[s] loaded with homeless people. It was so bad, I couldn’t even stand.” James also made statements, in sum and substance, about various conspiracy theories, including that: “And so the message to me is: I should have gotten a gun, and just started shooting motherf—ers.”
Following the attack, members of law enforcement executed court-authorized search warrants for properties associated with James in Pennsylvania. Agents recovered, among other items: 9mm ammunition; a threaded 9mm pistol barrel, which allows for a silencer or suppresser to be attached;.223 caliber ammunition, which is used with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle; a taser; a high-capacity rifle magazine; and a blue smoke cannister.
If convicted the defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The charge in the complaint is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Anyone with information about Mr. James or this incident is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI. Digital tips may also be submitted by visiting www.fbi.gov/brooklynshooting.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas M. Pravda, Alexander A. Solomon, Craig R. Heeren, David K. Kessler, Ian C. Richardson, Artie McConnell, Alexander Mindlin, Sara Winik, Ellen Sise, and Meredith A. Arfa, and Paralegal Specialists Wayne Colon and Benjamin Richmond, handled the investigation, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Larry Schneider of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-MJ-429