‘Prophet Of Doom’ Pleads Guilty In NYC Subway Mass Shooting
TO UPDATE: An assailant who opened fire on a crowded New York City subway train last year, injuring 10 commuters and sparking underground terror, admitted on Tuesday January 3 that he intended to cause massive damage.
No one was killed in the horrific attack by Frank James, 63, which left victims strewn across a smoky 36th Street platform in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn at the height of the morning rush of the April 12.
Rather than risk the consequences of a guilty verdict at a jury trial, James made a deal with prosecutors.
The heavy, bald-headed domestic terrorist – who dubbed himself the ‘Prophet of Doom’ in an online post – pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday to 10 counts of committing an attack or other violence against a public transport system. .
James had been raised in the Bronx and had lived in several cities, including Newark, NJ, Philadelphia, Chicago and Milwaukee. He already had a criminal record in New Jersey and New York, authorities said at the time.
He had also posted several videos on social media in the weeks leading up to the shooting about authorities’ failure to handle crime on the New York City subway.
James reached Brooklyn that fateful morning in a rental U-Haul van after staying at an Airbnb in Philadelphia, federal authorities said.
He boarded the Manhattan-bound N train at Kings Highway station with a Glock 17 pistol he bought legally in Ohio, a smoke bomb and a gas mask, they told the era.
James had dressed up in an orange reflective jacket and yellow helmet to look like a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee.
He lit the smoke bomb somewhere between the 59th and 36th Street stations, they said.
James then put on the mask and began shooting at passengers who had piled into the other end of the tube train.
James unloaded nearly three dozen bullets in what became one of the worst attacks on a city subway in years. Then he fled.
James claimed he had no intention of killing anyone, a claim that federal prosecutors vehemently disputed.
“The government would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [James] shot with intent to kill,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Winik told Judge William F. Kuntz. “[James] intended to inflict maximum damage at the height of the rush hour.
For his part, James told a U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday that his intent was to “cause grievous bodily harm to those aboard the train.”
James was captured in Manhattan’s East Village, ending a 31-hour manhunt, after several people – himself, among them – called Crime Stoppers.
Law enforcement also seized ammunition and weapon parts – including a 9mm threaded pistol barrel designed for silencers – a high-capacity rifle magazine, a Taser and a blue smoke cartridge.
“The victims of this reprehensible attack have deserved and received justice,” MTA communications director Tim Minton said Tuesday. “We hope that this abuser will never again be free to harm innocent people.”
Breon S. Peace, who is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said he hopes the outcome will serve multiple purposes.
“James’ violent crimes were met with swift justice,” he said. “This guilty plea is an important step in holding James fully accountable and helping the victims of the defendant’s violence and our great city heal.”
“As described in court documents, the defendant set off a smoke bomb in a New York City subway car and then fired a handgun more than 30 times, striking ten innocent passengers,” the attorney general added. United States, Merrick B. Garland. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that the Department of Justice will work tirelessly to hold accountable those who engage in mass violence and terrorize our communities.”
James faces life in federal prison — which has no parole — though that’s not certain given the many variables in US sentencing guidelines.
He is most likely considering a minimum of 32 given what appears to be his full liability, prosecutors argued. It would be 40 years to live if he didn’t, they said.
His defense attorneys, who said James suffered from a mental illness, countered that the range should be around 16½ to 19 under the guidelines.
James “has accepted responsibility for his crimes since turning himself in to law enforcement,” public defenders Mia Eisner-Grynberg and Amanda David said in a joint statement after the plea hearing.
Click here to follow Daily Voice Hackensack and receive free updates.