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N-train mass-shooting suspect caught in East Village

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Thurs., April 14, 6 p.m.: Frank James, the prime suspect in Tuesday morning’s mass shooting on an N train in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that left 29 straphangers injured, was caught in the East Village early Wednesday afernoon.

Zack Tahhan recounts spotting the shooting suspect on Avenue A and alerting nearby police. (Video by Carter Booth)

According to the New York Post, James, 62, called the Crime Stoppers hotline himself to report that he would be at the McDonald’s at First Avenue and E. Sixth Street but was gone when cops arrived. They soon found him, though, nearby at First Avenue and St. Mark’s Place, and handcuffed him without incident. He was hit with a federal terrorism charge.

Frank James was arrested Wednesday in connection with Tuesday’s mass shooting on the N train.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the suspected mass shooter has ties to the East Village or why he happened to be there Wednesday.

Meanwhile, tipsters also had spotted James in the neighborhood and called 9-1-1. Among them was Zack Tahhan, 21, a security-camera technician from New Jersey who was working nearby.

After the arrest, Tahhan was swarmed by a crowd of TV news reporters and citizen reporters — including Carter Booth, a former chairperson of Community Board 2, who videoed his account, above.

The tech said he had been doing a routine check of a store’s cameras when, to his shock, he spotted the alleged wanted gunman walking on the sidewalk right outside. Tahhan said James was toting a bag, which he put down “on the street.”

“I say, ‘People stay away from him! This guy is going to do something!'” he said.

“People [were] walking behind him. People thought I’m crazy,” he said. “I say, ‘This is the guy!'”

Zack Tahhan said he alerted police that the suspect was walking around in the East Village Wednesday. (Screengrab from video by Carter Booth)

Tahhan said he called out to a nearby police officer.

“I told him, ‘Yo! This is the guy!’ … I can’t believe. … My eyes broke [realizing it was him].”

Tahhan said he hadn’t been able to sleep or work knowing that the shooter was still on the loose.

“Thank God, we catch him,” he said.

Francis Puebla, a manager at Saifee Hardware, also spotted James walking on the sidewalk carrying a backpack and, like Tahhan, alerted an officer in a police car stopped at a red light. Stacie Joy videoed Puebla’s account for EV Grieve.

Hardware store manager Francis Puebla also spotted Frank James walking by and alerted police. (Video by Stacie Joy for EV Grieve)

Video shows an officer toting a military-style backpack, apparently James’s, dangling it in his hand by one of its shoulder straps, as James, hands cuffed behind his back, is being put into a police car.

James has posted rambling rants on YouTube in which he decries Mayor Adams and the city’s homeless crisis, says he himself is mentally ill, claims that once the Ukraine conflict ends, an apocalyptic race war will erupt, and wishes for his former enemies to be tortured and suffer.

Mayor Adams, who is under pressure to reduce crime in the city, praised the arrest, saying, “We got him. I want to thank everyday New Yorkers who called in tips, who responded, who helped those passengers who were injured. … We got him.”

“We were able to shrink his world quickly,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, crediting a public tip to Crime Stoppers for James’s arrest. “There was nowhere else for him to run.”

9 Comments

  1. LES3025 LES3025 April 13, 2022

    The NYPD’s handling of this situation from start to finish is just absolutely maddening. At the scene they failed to stop the trains and the first responder couldn’t use his radio. Then this guy spent the last 24 hours bouncing around on the subway while eight cops stood in a group at each station messing around on their phones rather than look for him. And earlier today the Strategic Response Group was spending their time clearing homeless people out of Tompkins Square Park while the guy was apparently a block away. It took a call from a bodega worker for them to catch him two blocks away from the 9th Precinct.

    And yet you know that this is going to be used to call for more cops everywhere. Absolutely maddening.

  2. Sugar Barry Sugar Barry April 13, 2022

    Thank you Lincoln for such immediate information – an excellent report!

  3. Dianna Maeurer Dianna Maeurer April 13, 2022

    Cheers to Mr Zack Dahhan!
    Thank you.

  4. anonymous anonymous April 14, 2022

    “Witness describes spotting alleged gunman Frank James in the East Village”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxZxijqToJM&t=10s
    “Francis Puebla, a manager at Saifee Hardware in the East Village, describes spotting Frank R. James, 62, who was named a “person of interest” after the mass shooting on the subway in Sunset Park on April 12. Police arrested James on April 13 a block to the north of the hardware store. Video by Stacie Joy.”

  5. Amina Ali Amina Ali April 14, 2022

    Give Zack the reward!

  6. Bowery Babe Bowery Babe April 14, 2022

    LES3025: First of all trains were stopped – all of the ones that use the tracks around the incident. Ask anyone who uses those lines to travel. And the “first responder” couldn’t use his radio? Do you think there was only one police officer on the scene at first? I would venture to say there was more than one “first responder.” Second – did you travel the entire subway line to see there were exactly eight officers at each subway station “messing with their phones”? Third – there are many different departments in the NYPD. Not every single police officer in NYC was assigned to specifically look for the shooter (and how many officers were in Tompkins Square Park – 4-6-8?). And lastly, the shooter himself called the Tip Hotline to say he was in McDonalds. The police responded and saw he wasn’t there and continued to look for him. Since he was on 1st Ave. two blocks north of McDonalds chances are he would have been apprehended. Please remember that it is easier to recognize someone who walks by you on the street than driving past in a car. Hence the police department alert to the public with a face visual asking for the public’s help worked. Why are you such a police hater? They did a great job in the first place identifying the shooter quickly and getting the info out to the public.
    So I guess in the future if you are a victim of a mugging, a robbery, an assault, a theft of any kind, you will handle it yourself instead of calling the police.

  7. LES3025 LES3025 April 15, 2022

    The trains were not stopped (https://twitter.com/NoahShachtman/status/1513905677634355200). The NYPD has acknowledged that the shooter got away on an uptown R train that was not stopped (https://twitter.com/kduggan16/status/1514312374672576528).

    The Chief of Department acknowledged that the first cop on the scene couldn’t use his radio due to “user error” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/04/12/brooklyn-subway-shooting/).

    There are a million pictures online of cops messing around on their phones rather than doing anything. Here’s four: https://twitter.com/andyratto/status/1514625589961011204. If you want more, search yourself. Anyone who takes the subway knows this.

    It’s true that there are many different NYPD departments. One such department is the Strategic Response Group, which, according to the NYPD “responds to citywide mobilizations, civil disorders, and major events” (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/bureaus/patrol/citywide-operations.page). I would think this qualifies as a major event but, while the shooter was at large, instead of looking for him they were one block away from where he was caught evicting homeless people from Tompkins Square Park (https://twitter.com/isabelle_leyva/status/1514247509987713030).

    You seem to acknowledge that the cops couldn’t find him even though he called 911 on himself, so I don’t think I need to address that. If you aren’t aware how close the 6th Street McDonald’s is to the 9th Precinct, I suggest you google it.

    The police only identified him in the first place because he dropped his credit card at the scene (https://nbc-2.com/news/2022/04/12/investigators-identify-suspect-of-brooklyn-subway-shooting-after-finding-a-credit-card-at-the-scene/). Don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to do that.

    If I’m the victim of a mugging, robbery or assault, what exactly do you think the police are going to do? The citywide clearance rate for robbery in Q4 2021 was 41% (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/stats/reports-analysis/clearance.page). So, more likely than not, they won’t do a thing.

    So, I guess my question for you is: How do those boots taste?

  8. Bowery Babe Bowery Babe April 15, 2022

    LES3025: Years ago I worked for someone who told me, “I expect excellence not perfection and a good end result is what’s most important.”
    To me the EXCELLENT result of finding the subway shooter the NEXT DAY is what’s most important. If you choose to spend hours trolling the Internet to find examples of what you consider police ineptitude, go right ahead. I on the other hand prefer to applaud the police, the MTA, the FBI and the NYC public for their fine work.
    And as to your “boots” — they have no taste at all.

    • LES3025 LES3025 April 16, 2022

      Oh it’s not my boots you’re licking

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