Frank James, the man accused of opening fire on a Brooklyn subway, was visiting several Manhattan neighborhoods, including a stop at the famous Katz’s Delicatessen, as the NYPD searched the city for him, according to police sources.
James, 62, was arrested in Manhattan’s East Village on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said, more than 24 hours after 10 people were shot dead on a crowded Subway N as the train pulled into Brooklyn’s 36th Street station. A total of 29 people were injured in the chaos.
Police recovered James’ phone, credit card and MetroCard at the scene, but he had a second phone and MetroCard, which police are now using to track his movements after he evaded arrest at the scene, police sources told ABC with message.
After the mass shooting during Tuesday morning’s rush hour, James switched subways from the N to the R and got off at the 25th Street station around 8:35 a.m., sources said. He then took the B67 bus to Park Slope, where he bought a new mask and entered the 7th Avenue subway station at 9:18 am
James made it to Manhattan and checked into the Chelsea International Hostel on West 20th Street sometime Tuesday night, sources said.
He emerged sometime Wednesday morning and began wandering the streets of lower Manhattan, hiding in plain sight, sources said.
Multiple sightings began around 10:30 a.m. when he was seen sitting outside Dimes, a restaurant in Chinatown, sources said. Witnesses took photos of him seated, apparently using a Link NYC hub to charge his phone, and posted them to social media, tagging police, sources said.
A few hours later, James was spotted having lunch at Katz’s on the Lower East Side, sources said.
Just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, James called Crime Stoppers and said he was in the East Village at a McDonald’s on East 6th Street and First Avenue, sources said. James reportedly said: “I think you’re looking for me. I see my picture all over the news and I’ll be near this McDonald’s.”
By the time police arrived, James had already left McDonald’s. But a Good Samaritan spotted James nearby at St. Mark’s Place and First Avenue and waved goodbye to police, sources said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams hosted an event Friday to honor public transit workers involved in responding to the subway shooting.
“New York City showed the whole world what our city is and was about: Courage, heroism, quick thinking and decisive action,” said Adams, who appeared virtually while remaining in quarantine with COVID-19.
“No passenger was left behind, no life was lost. And thanks to you, our city keeps going every day,” said the mayor.
Adams also thanked all New Yorkers for mobilizing at various levels, from educators at nearby schools to doctors and nurses at local hospitals to civilians who “rushed to the aid of their fellow travelers.”
Earl Phillips, secretary and treasurer of the Transit Workers Union Local 100, commended the subway operators and conductors, who he said took charge during the active shooter situation.
“At any given minute they were either directing passengers, making announcements, moving their trains, leading police into tunnels to look for the shooter,” or communicating with rescue workers, he said.
Conductor Raven Haynes told ABC News Live that as the subway pulled into the station, she saw the second carriage fill with smoke and “passengers fell off the train onto the platform floor.”
“I instructed the passengers that we should stand under the smoke and board the train coming across the platform,” she said. “My partner noticed that injured passengers physically boarded the train and made sure the train was stopped so we could get medical attention.”
She continued, “I made an announcement telling the passengers, ‘Do not get on our train, please do not get on our platform.’ After that I secured my taxi, went to my partner to see if he needed help with anything. I noticed the ambulance and fire brigade coming down the stairs so I guided them to the second car to make sure our injured passengers were taken care of.”
Haynes said she wasn’t afraid.
“Natural instincts kicked in and the reality was our priority was our drivers. We just want to make sure they get out of the area as quickly and safely as possible without causing any more chaos. Because as long as we’re calm, cool and collected, our passengers can be calm,” she explained. “I feel like a lot more lives were saved that day because we were actually able to physically get them out of there.”
James was arrested on federal charges of committing a terrorist attack on a mass transit vehicle. James made his first court appearance Thursday and did not file a plea. He was held without bail.
James’ defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg called the shooting a tragedy but pointed out that initial information can often be wrong. She also commended James for turning himself in.
James, who was born in New York City, last lived in Philadelphia, according to sources. He reserved a U-Haul van in Philadelphia last week and picked up the truck Monday afternoon, sources said. After a stop at a warehouse where weapons were later found, he drove to New York City, sources said.
In a court filing, federal prosecutors described the shooting as calculated and “entirely premeditated.” They found that James wore a hard hat and construction worker-style jacket as disguise, then removed them after the gunfight to avoid recognition.
Prosecutors suggested that James had the means to carry out more attacks, noting that he had ammunition and other gun-related items in a Philadelphia storage unit.
“The defendant shockingly opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, disrupting their morning commute in a way not seen in this city in more than 20 years,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Winik said in court Thursday . “The defendant’s attack was premeditated; it was carefully planned; and it caused terror among the victims and throughout our city.”
Editor’s note: This article, citing police sources, previously said James lives in an Airbnb in Philadelphia. His short-term rental was not through Airbnb, the company said.
ABC News’ Penelope Lopez and Kiara Brantley-Jones contributed to this report.
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