NYPD have revealed that subway shooting suspect Frank James has an extensive criminal history in New York and New Jersey that dates back more than three decades.
On Wednesday, James, 62, was arrested walking around the East Village in Lower Manhattan, a day after shooting 10 people on a packed Brooklyn train, and has now been charged with carrying out a terrorist attack on mass transit.
James was taken into custody on Wednesday on 1st Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets after a bystander recognized him and called police. His arrest on Wednesday brought an end to an embarrassing and fruitless day-long manhunt by the FBI and NYPD.
At a press conference on Wednesday, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said that James, who had six arrests in New York, was ‘known to us.’
Police said James’ rap sheet included no felony arrests, just a series of nine misdemeanor charges, which include two sex crime charges and four possession of burglary tool charges in New York between 1992 and 1998.
In New Jersey, he had been charged with trespassing in 1991, larceny in 1992, and disorderly conduct in 2007, police said.
James was seen smirking as he was escorted by police outside the Ninth Precinct in Manhattan Wednesday afternoon.
James is transported into a police vehicle to be taken to a federal courthouse on Wednesday. He has been charged with carrying out a terror attack on mass transit
Frank James, the suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting walks outside a police precinct in New York City, New York, U.S., April 13, 2022
James was taken into custody on Wednesday on 1st Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets after a by-stander recognized him and called police
New Yorkers lie on the platform at 36th Street station after falling out of the northbound N train. They were shot on the train by a gunman who unleashed a smoke bomb and then opened fire before fleeing at around 8.30am
After allegedly shooting 33 shots on the northbound N train at 8.24am from his 9mm handgun, James ran across the platform with other terrified commuters and got onto a northbound R train. He got off that R train at 25th Street in Brooklyn.
On Wednesday morning, he got on the train again at 9.15am in Park Slope and traveled into Manhattan, right under the noses of the doubled number of cops on trains.
It wasn’t until Zack Tahhan, a 21-year-old from New Jersey who was fixing a store security camera in the East Village, spotted James on First Avenue that he was arrested.
New York City Police Department officers handcuff subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, 62, in the East Village on Wednesday
NYPD Police Commissioner, Keechant Sewell, announced the arrest of the suspect in the shooting on a Brooklyn subway yesterday
James posted dozens of ranting videos on YouTube where he spoke about race wars, prison, violence and moving from Wisconsin
The U-Haul van that police say subway shooter Frank James rented prior to unleashing the terrifying subway mass shooting during morning rush hour
Tahhan, a security worker from Brooklyn who works in the East Village, spotted him and alerted police.
‘Everyone thought I was crazy!’ he told DailyMail.com on Wednesday, describing how he jumped up and down and screamed for police to arrest him before he ‘killed’ anyone.
Another witness, Deira Figueroa, said Zach chased after the gunman and grabbed him.
She was riding her bike when it all kicked off and only realized what was happening when she heard shouting. She said it was a team effort, but the man was mentally ill, a very weird, strange man.
She said he tried to run away but Zach ran after him and caught him.
She said the tackle was incredible. ‘In New York City, we protect us, nobodies really safe out here. It was like a tackle. The cops took a while to get here, maybe a few minutes.’
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Adams – who is in quarantine with COVID – said in a video message: ‘We got him!’
Sewell also thanked the NYPD detectives and claimed they gave James ‘nowhere to hide’.
But both were eviscerated by New Yorkers. James was able to evade cops even on the subway this morning, riding from Park Slope into Manhattan at 9.15am.
Now that he is in custody, attention will turn to why it took the police so long to find him in a city that is covered in surveillance cameras, and why it took a member of the public to finally bring him down.
The cameras inside the 36th Street station were not working yesterday when he opened fire on the northbound N train at 8.24am.
James, 62, had posted ranting videos on YouTube about violence, race, Eric Adams and crime in New York City.
The FBI (pictured in Brooklyn yesterday) faces major questions after it emerged the suspect in the Brooklyn shooting was on their terrorist radar
The footage was obtained by CBS on Wednesday morning as James, 62, remained at-large. It shows him walking slowly down a street in Brooklyn, wheeling a bag behind him and carrying a backpack in the other hand. He is wearing an orange construction vest
He left Wisconsin, where he lived alone, on March 20 in a rented van, driving through Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and then to New Jersey.
He is understood to have rented a U-Haul in Philadelphia sometime earlier this week and driven it to Brooklyn, dumping it on the Kings Highway, five miles from the 36th Street station.
He then was filmed getting on the subway at Kings Highway, shortly after 6am.
It’s unclear what he did for the next two-and-a-half hours before unleashing a smoke bomb and firing his handgun on the train.
James relentlessly uploaded hate-speech-filled clips on YouTube about how oppressed black people were and how black and white people should have ‘no contact’, for weeks before Tuesday’s attack.
He also posted worrying memes about guns, bullets and 9/11 on Facebook but none were picked up by police.
In the March 20th video, titled ‘STOP ONE COMPLETE’, he gave an ominous warning about his plans. Speaking from the driver’s seat of a rented van, he said: ‘As I leave the state of Wisconsin, about to be back in the state of Illinois, all I can say is: Good riddance. I will never be back again alive to that m*********r.’
At the start of the video, he told of his plans to drive to Philadelphia.
‘I am on my way to Philadelphia. I packed my bags. I got up, even though it’s rainy, go to my storage unit, loaded that up and then finished my apartment off this morning.
THE REAL HERO: Zack Tahhan, 21, was fixing a camera outside an East Village store when he spotted James in the street. The 62-year-old had just exited a McDonald’s and was walking around casually, a day after shooting ten people on a northbound N train
A bag of fireworks, firecrackers and smoke cannisters was found at the 36th Street subway yesterday
‘I am on my way to Philadelphia. I should be there… I’m going to take my time though.
‘This is the first leg of my trip, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to drive this far. We’re going to find out though.
‘All my Instacart driving paid off or what. We are definitely going to find the f*** out.’
Two days before the shooting, he posted another video where he said black people were forced into violence by racism.
‘This is what white b*****s and white m*********ers’ expect you to be… when you blow one of their f*****g brains out – this is what you asked for. This is how you wanted me to be, obviously,’ he said.
He was drinking white rum and had finished the bottle.
At the end of his final video, he said: ‘Why should a n****r be on this planet besides to pick tobacco or sugar plant. There is no natural reason for there to be such a thing as an American negro, African American, there is no reason for it. Except for you to be a slave. That is your rightful place, it always will be. Until you build a black state of Israel, which you don’t want. You want to send your a** in the ghetto and play n****r.
‘This is what this s**t in Ukraine is a build up to. It’s to get rid of your a**. Nuclear devices are going to be dropped. The president of Ukraine is calling for nuclear war. And so, I talk about my condition but, what the f*** can you do?
‘That’s life in the ghetto. I’ve said everything in this video that I wanted to say. I’m going to finish this 100 proof. I’m going to finish this s**t. This has got me knocked the f*** out. I can barely talk. Leave the rest of that s**t for tomorrow. I’m going to take my a** to bed. I’ll talk to you guys later, take it easy. Be good.’
In another video, he ranted: ‘This nation was born in violence, it’s kept alive by violence or the threat thereof and it’s going to die a violent death.
‘There’s nothing going to stop that,’ James said in a ranting video on YouTube under the name ‘Prophet of Truth88’.
The rambling, profanity-filled YouTube videos posted by James, who is black, are replete with violent language and bigoted comments, sometimes against other black people.
He is also featured sharing conspiracy theories – such as claiming that the Twin Towers could never have been brought down on 9/11 by planes.
One video, posted April 11, criticizes crime against black people and says drastic action is needed.
‘You got kids going in here now taking machine guns and mowing down innocent people,’ James says.
‘It’s not going to get better until we make it better,’ he said, adding that he thought things would only change if certain people were ‘stomped, kicked and tortured’ out of their ‘comfort zone.’
‘I am now in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the Comfort Inn Suites for the night.
‘My next leg will be… I am taking my time. I am definitely going to get to Philly by Tuesday.