SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — New Yorkers were taking the subway just like any other day during the Tuesday morning commute when horror unfolded.
On a northbound N train in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, just before 8:25 a.m., a man put on a gas mask, pulled out two canisters and opened fire as smoke filled the train. Ten people were shot, and 13 others were injured in the attack, officials said. Police said none of the injuries were life-threatening.
“When the smoke came out, everyone was running to the opposite side of the car,” said 17-year-old Vincent Chen, who is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg. “People were trying to break the windows to let the smoke out.”
Chen is a high school student and was on his way to class. It was a normal day until the chaos erupted. He said he was near the front of the train in the same car as the shooter.
“There was this big bang and a loud noise. That’s when my leg stopped working and everyone fell on the floor,” Chen said.
Mario Vazquez was also injured in the shooting. He hurt his leg and is now walking with the support of a cane.
“The smoke was crazy,” Vazquez said. He was traveling to work in Manhattan with his nephew, who is still being treated after getting shot in the leg. “My nephew is in danger right now. It’s not easy.”
Ken Foote-Smith vividly remembers the moment his commute turned terrifying.
“I heard a loud bang, almost like a glass shattered,” Foote-Smith said. He was in his usual spot in the lead car when he saw white smoke begin to fill the next car.
“I could only see the people’s faces pressed against the door, banging on it, screaming,” Foote-Smith said. “They’re coming out screaming, throwing people aside, stumbling over, stepping on people.”
The suspect is described as a Black male, standing about 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing about 175 pounds. A person of interest, 62-year-old Frank R. James, was named in connection with the attack. He was not a suspect, as of Tuesday evening, police said.
James’ name was connected to a U-Haul sought in connection with the attack, officials said. A key was left behind at the scene of the shooting. Police connected that to a U-Haul with Arizona plates, which they later located in Brooklyn. James had rented the U-Haul.
“We’re looking to determine if he has any connection to the train,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
There were some “concerning” social media posts police believe may be connected to James, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. They mentioned homelessness and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Security for the mayor was increased because of the posts.
PIX11’s AJ Jondonero, Aliza Chasan, Nicole Johnson and Sarah Vasile contributed to this report.