BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Frank James, the gunman accused of opening fire on a Brooklyn subway train last year, has admitted to shooting nearly a dozen people in the attack, authorities said Tuesday.
James, 63, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of committing a terrorist attack and other violence against a mass transportation system and vehicle carrying passengers and employees and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, officials said. Ten people were shot and another 13 were injured on the N train in Sunset Park on April 12.
“Today’s guilty plea is a distinct admission of the terror Mr. James inflicted on
New Yorkers last April in Brooklyn, and he is being held accountable for his reprehensible
actions that morning,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said.
Prosecutors are seeking a decades-long prison sentence. In a letter filed late last week, they said they plan to ask the judge to go beyond the roughly 32-year to 39-year sentence that federal sentencing guidelines recommend.
A sentencing date has not yet been set. He faces up to life in prison for each of the 11 counts.
Prosecutors said James planned the attack beginning in 2017 when he started buying materials, like smoke grenades and ammunition. Months before the incident, James did web searches for “MTA,” “New York,” “transit,” and “stops on the N train,” officials said.
On the day of the attack, James dressed as an MTA worker and set off a smoke device before opening fire, prosecutors said. He fired the gun more than 30 times.
“Frank James cold-bloodedly shot innocent New Yorkers traveling on the subway in Brooklyn and brought terror to our great city. James’s crimes of violence have been met with swift justice,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said.
Police arrested James on April 13 after a massive manhunt. James was charged with 10 counts of terrorism, one for each shooting victim, and one firearms violation charge.
James had previously pleaded not guilty and was set to go to trial in February.
–Associated Press material was used in this report.