Inside the NYPD manhunt for Brooklyn subway shooter
Back at 36th Street, police and firefighters were descending into the station. They blocked access inside and out, unaware that the shooter had already left. The casualties were quickly counted – 10 with gunshot wounds, none seriously. It was a welcome but unlikely result, given that someone had just fired 33 shots into a locked metal tube cluttered with booby-trapped targets, then disappeared.
Mayor Eric Adams was uptown at his Gracie Mansion residence, attending a Covid-19 briefing on Zoom when he learned of the shooting. He had tested positive for coronavirus two days earlier and had been confined to his home since then.
A former NYPD captain, his first instinct was to rush to the scene, but his team members insisted otherwise. Instead, a command center was set up in a different room. Soon, he said later, he was in near-constant contact with Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
The news swept across the city and far beyond. Panicked parents texted from across the country: The news said Brooklyn, are you okay? Helicopters took off over Sunset Park, and the city sent out smartphone alerts asking people to avoid the neighborhood.
But the shooter appeared to have simply walked away, walking up from Fourth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, where, according to a law enforcement official, he boarded a bus that carried him around ten miles. densely populated blocks to another subway station. At 9:15 a.m. he descended the stairs of this station, the 7th Avenue-9th Street stop at Park Slope, where an F or G train could take him to Coney Island or Manhattan or Queens.
At the 36th Street station, the items left behind by the shooter turned out to be a wealth of clues. A cache of fireworks, a gun, a gas can, a torch – and bank cards and the key to a U-Haul van. The gun was quickly traced back to a purchase a decade earlier in Ohio, sold to a man named Frank Robert James.