The students at SUNY Plattsburgh stand in solidarity with the five critically injured individuals, the nearly two dozen injured people and those affected in the mass Brooklyn subway shooting April 12. Right before 8:30 a.m., during the shooting, the shooter described as a “heavyset, dark-skinned man in a construction vest and helmet,” put on a gas mask, deployed two smoke canisters and began shooting into the crowded subway train, at least 33 times at the crowded N Train of the 36th Street metro station in Sunset Park. Ten people were hit directly by the gunfire, amidst a citywide rise in recent shootings.
Suspect Frank R. James, 62, was arrested this past Wednesday in New York’s East Village neighborhood by police, and is being charged with violating terrorist and other violent attacks against a mass transportation system, according to CNN. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.
“Breon Peace, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said that James will face multiple counts, including the use of a dangerous weapon to cause death and serious injury to passengers and employees on the New York subway system,” CNN stated.
James was found after authorities recovered a U-Haul van in Brooklyn late Tuesday afternoon five blocks from Kings Highway Station, which authorities believe James may have rented in Philadelphia, and the key to the van was found at the scene in the suspect’s belongings. A credit card with his name was also found, linking him to possibly being present at the scene. New York Police officials also sent an emergency alert out Wednesday morning, asking residents for any information about James, offering up to $50,000 in reward money for information on James to find and arrest him during the massive manhunt. After a tip, he was arrested and is now in custody.
Regardless of the suspect’s motives, which is currently unknown, this a heinous and scary act against those who were most likely on their routine way to work or school on a normal day, not knowing their safety would be threatened in a matter of minutes. To be carrying a Glock 9-millimeter handgun, ammunition magazines, fireworks and more onto a subway is extremely disturbing, and will affect those who use this transit for transportation immensely, not knowing if their future rides will be masked in violence.
Schools in that area were sent into lockdown most of the day. As more and more videos emerge, passengers are seen lying on the ground of the subway platforms, where one would usually be waiting for the next ride to their destination. Subway seats and cars were streaked with blood, and streaks of blood littered the ground as pedestrians called for help. Police and helicopters surrounded the area, and many hopped onto the R train across, to get out of harm’s way.
Thankfully, none of the wounded have life-threatening injuries, but authorities claim this isn’t being considered a true act of terrorism. Terrorism is violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature, according to FBI.gov. Authorities have uncovered James’ YouTube channel, full of long rants, topics ranging from blaming Black women for violence among Black people to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as evidence that whites are genocidal.
Whether this was politically or racially motivated, it still was a violent act on innocent individuals. We stand with those affected, and we encourage those who may go to SUNY Plattsburgh to check in with friends that may be in the area of Brooklyn or have family at home that may live in NYC that regularly take the subway. Now is the time to stand together, and take time to reflect on heinous acts that continue to happen due to lack of gun regulation in America.
Use your voice. Now is the time to make our government listen, whether through peaceful protest, online posting or even writing ‘a letter to the editor’ to your local paper.