SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (PIX11) – Surveillance cameras at the Brooklyn subway station where a gunman opened fire on riders in April stopped working four days prior to the shooting, according to a report by the Office of the MTA Inspector General.
The Office of the MTA Inspector General on Thursday announced the findings of its investigation into the camera network outage that occurred at the 36th Street station in Sunset Park, where 62-year-old Frank James allegedly shot ten people on a subway train on April 12.
The video stream at three stations, including the 36th Street station, went down on April 8. But the outage was not discovered by NYC Transit workers for 24 hours, and the team responsible for fixing the network was not made aware of the outage for two more days, according to the Office of the MTA Inspector General. Repair work didn’t start until the morning of April 11, one day before the shooting.
The MTA Inspector General report said limited staffing and poor training contributed to the cameras still being broken on the day of the shooting.
“This is about maintenance. Investment in technology is critical, but without a matching commitment to maintenance, the gains from the investment are fleeting,” Acting Inspector General Elizabeth Keating said in a statement. “The staffing shortfall in maintenance positions is real and a much broader problem impacting NYC Transit operations.”
The exact cause of the camera network outage is still unknown, but investigators found no evidence that the outage was intentional, according to the MTA Inspector General.
The MTA has nearly 10,000 cameras at its 472 subway stations. The NYPD was able to use other surveillance cameras in the system to help track James in the hours after the shooting.
James was arrested the following day in Manhattan. He has since pleaded not guilty to terrorism and other charges.