Frank Robert James Brooklyn subway shooter calls Crime Stoppers on himself faces federal terror charges as prosecutors build case against man with other prior criminal arrests.
‘I’m Frank. The man you’ve come to arrest. What took you so long?’
A Philadelphia man accused of opened gunfire in a crowded New York subway car called Crime Stoppers on himself Wednesday morning — then calmly went for an afternoon stroll through the East Village while he waited for police to come arrest him.
‘A call came into Crime Stoppers … The guy says, ‘You know I think you’re looking for me. I’m seeing my picture all over the news and I’ll be around this McDonalds… I want to clear things up,’ law-enforcement sources told the nypost of the moment wanted man, Frank R. James called cops on himself following Tuesday’s series of events which terrorized commuters.
A couple of New Yorkers also flagged down a pair of cops after they spotted James sauntering through the East Village, where he briefly sat down at an outdoor dining shed and charged his phone at a Link NYC hub as he nonchalantly waited for cops.
‘I’m Frank, I’m the person you’re looking for. I’m surprised it took so long,’ James told police as they arrested him, police sources said. Police arrested James just before 2 p.m. on First Avenue and St. Mark’s Place.
How Frank R. James was able to avoid being arrested for 29 hours
Federal prosecutors charged James, 62, with terror-related offenses for firing 33 rounds on a Manhattan-bound N train Tuesday morning, leaving 10 people with gunshot wounds and another 19 injured in a mass shooting that left New Yorkers on edge as they continue to contend with a citywide crime surge.
James was booked with a charge of committing terrorist attacks and other violence against mass transportation systems, which could send him to prison for life if he’s convicted.
He’s facing one felony charge for committing a terrorist attack against a mass transportation system and faces life in prison if convicted, Brooklyn federal prosecutors said.
In the initial aftermath of the attack, cops had trouble tracking down James because surveillance cameras at the 36th Street station where the incident occurred had malfunctioned.
They later determined James had blended in with commuters and took an R train to the next stop at 25th Street, where cameras also weren’t working.
Shortly after slipping out of that station, he boarded a B67 bus and then was back on the rails about 45 minutes later at 9:15 a.m. when he walked into an F train station at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street in Park Slope, according to police officials.
At the time, police had only released a bare bones description of him and no photo because of the camera malfunction so nobody realized he was the suspect with James able to ride the train freely.
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Lone shooter sets out for lone mission to rattle NYC
The gun used in the attack, a 9mm Glock, was legally purchased in Ohio by an individual named ‘Frank Robert James’ some years ago and when the firearm was examined, investigators determined he’d defaced the serial number and attempted to scratch it out, prosecutors said in James’ criminal complaint.
The alleged shooter, who’d previously been staying in an Airbnb in Philadelphia and also has ties to Wisconsin, drove a U-Haul truck into NYC early Tuesday morning around 4 a.m.
Surveillance footage captured him going over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and driving into Brooklyn, where the U-Haul was later found abandoned in Gravesend, court records show.
Surveillance video obtained from the area near the recovered U-Haul included grainy footage appearing to show James walking into the subway station, carrying a bag that looks similar to the one recovered at the shooting scene, the officials said.
Cops believe James is the man who rented a U-Haul linked to the case. A key to the vehicle and the credit card used to rent it was discovered at the scene. Video was later found showing the man recording himself as he drove the U-Haul into NYC.
James was revealed to have ties to Philadelphia and Wisconsin as well as New York, according to police.
Recovered cache and previous criminal record
Hours after the shooting Tuesday, federal agents conducted a search warrant at a storage unit registered to James in Philadelphia and inside found a cache of weapons and ammunition capable of committing mass carnage.
The items include 9mm bullets, a threaded 9mm pistol barrel that allows for a silencer or suppressor to be attached, targets and .223 caliber ammunition, which is made to be used with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
They also raided the Airbnb where he’d been staying and found an empty magazine for a Glock handgun, a taser, a high-capacity rifle magazine and a blue smoke canister.
He was said to have a past criminal record in New Jersey that includes three arrests on charges related to petit larceny and disorderly conduct in 2007 and trespassing in 1992.
James also has nine prior arrests in New York from 1992-1998, NYPD officials said Wednesday, including possession of burglary tools, criminal sex acts, and theft of service. However, he has no history on par with the violence he’s suspected of in Tuesday’s attack of which officials are aware at this point.
Part of James’ criminal history included making ‘terroristic threats,’ according to sources, but investigators said the threats were similar to ones commonly made by those who are emotionally disturbed NBC NY reported.
Prosecutors described their intent to build an airtight case against James. The man was likely to face federal charges because the penalties are harsher along with more resources available for investigation.
‘My office is prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that… James did knowingly and without lawful authority and permission commit an act, including the use of a dangerous weapon, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily injury to passengers and MTA employees on the New York City subway system,’ US Attorney Breon Peace said when announcing the charge against James in Brooklyn federal court according to the nypost.
‘My office will use every tool at our disposal to bring this individual to justice, and restore safety and peace of mind to all.’
Moira Penza, a former Brooklyn federal prosecutor now in private practice, said: ‘Frank James is alleged to have crossed state lines with the intent to cause physical harm to individuals using mass transportation, here the New York City subway system, putting his actions squarely within the conduct criminalized as terrorism under our federal laws.’