Brooklyn subway attack: Video shows FBI raid Philadelphia apartment where NYC shooting suspect Frank James stayed
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The search of a Philadelphia apartment was part of the investigation that led to the arrest of a man accused of the violent rush hour attack on a New York City subway train.
Frank James, 62, is due to appear in federal court on Thursday.
Authorities pored over the evidence, collected in both Brooklyn and Philadelphia, where police said James was staying just before the rampage.
A criminal complaint shows James rented a U-Haul in Philadelphia the day before the shooting. It is believed to have originated from the settlement of the city’s hunting park section.
Investigators also said he rented a storage unit at the same facility.
Inside, law enforcement recovered 9mm ammunition, a threaded 9mm pistol barrel for attaching a silencer or suppressor, targets, and .223 caliber ammunition, which is used with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
The complaint also said he rented an apartment in Philadelphia for 15 days around March 28. Fifteen days from that date would have been Tuesday, the day of the shooting.
Action News obtained cellphone video taken by Philadelphia resident Yusuf Gillooly of the FBI raiding the apartment on Wednesday.
Officers recovered an empty magazine for a Glock handgun, a TASER, a high-capacity rifle magazine, and blue smoke.
According to the criminal complaint, James took Lyft rides to or from his Philadelphia apartment approximately 21 times from March 28, 2022 to April 10, 2022.
Investigators said technology, video prospecting and public dissemination of information helped solve the case quickly.
“We were able to shrink his world quickly,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said. “He had nowhere left to run.”
James was taken into custody on Wednesday on Manhattan’s Lower East Side after a 30-hour manhunt.
Sources say James called the police on himself from a McDonald’s and was found nearby minutes later.
He reportedly said he saw himself all over the news and social media.
Police say their top priority is getting the suspect, now charged with a federal terrorism offense, out as they investigate his biggest unanswered question: Why?
James is the only suspect in the Brooklyn subway attack that left 10 gunshot wounds and 19 others.
Surveillance cameras spotted James entering the subway turnstiles on Tuesday morning, dressed as a maintenance or construction worker with a yellow hard hat and an orange work jacket with reflective tape.
Police said other passengers heard him say only “oops” as he set off a smoke grenade into a crowded subway car as it rolled through a station.
He then set off a second smoke grenade and began firing, police said. In the ensuing smoke and chaos, police say James fled by slipping into a train that pulled up to the platform and exited after the first stop.
The firearm, extended magazines, a hatchet, detonated and undetonated smoke grenades, a black trash can, a rolling cart, gasoline and the key to the U-Haul pickup were left at the scene, a said the police.
This key led investigators to James and clues to a life of setbacks and anger as he bounced between factory and maintenance jobs, got fired at least twice, moved between Milwaukee, Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York.
While the motive for the attack is still under investigation, in recent months James has posted YouTube videos denouncing the mayor of New York, racism and violence in the United States.
Investigators said James had previously been arrested 12 times in New York and New Jersey from 1990 to 2007, including for possession of burglary tools, a criminal sex act, trespassing, theft and disorderly conduct.
James had no felony convictions and was not prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm. Police say the weapon used in the attack was purchased legally from an Ohio pawn shop in 2011.
James was taken into custody without incident.
Although initial reports indicate that James booked the Philadelphia apartment through Airbnb, a spokesperson for the company told Action News on Thursday that was not the case.
The company said there were no Airbnb accounts or reservations associated with “any identifiable information currently available about Frank James.” Airbnb said they had no reservations at this property during the time it was there.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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