NEW YORK – Frank R. James, the man suspected in the shooting on a New York City subway on Tuesday, had an erratic work history, was arrested for a string of mostly minor crimes and posted profanity-laced videos on his YouTube channel.
James, 62, was arrested on Wednesday after calling the New York Police Department’s tip line on Wednesday to say he was inside a McDonald’s restaurant in Manhattan, The Associated Press reported, citing anonymous sources. According to the AP, James told authorities to come and get him.
James is accused of pulling the trigger at least 33 times, wounding 10 people. More than 13 other people were injured in the chaos that followed at the N train station in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Here are some things to know about Frank James.
Native New Yorker
James was born in 1959 in Manhattan, according to New York City online vital records, However, his sister, Catherine James Robinson, said her brother was born in the Bronx, the Times reported.
Their mother died when James was 5, the newspaper reported. James’ father died in 1991.
In his videos, James said he completed a machine shop course in 1983, The Associated Press reported. He said he then worked as a gear machinist at Curtiss-Wright, an aerospace manufacturer in New Jersey, according to the news organization.
Court records show that James filed a complaint against the aerospace company in federal court soon after he lost his job in 1991, alleging racial discrimination, but it was dismissed the following year, the AP reported.
James was raised in the Bronx but mostly lost touch with his family as he grew older, his sister told the Times. He drifted south and then west, to Newark, New Jersey, then to Philadelphia and Chicago.
“He’s been on his own all his life, and I haven’t had that much contact with him,” Robinson told the newspaper. “He moves from city to city.”
Milwaukee was one of those cities, according to the Times. He called himself a driver, including for the delivery app, Instacart.
Many arrests, no felony convictions
Police said James had previously been arrested nine times in New York during the 1990s, The Washington Post reported. The arrests included charges of possessing burglary tools and committing a criminal sex act, the newspaper reported. Police said James also had been arrested in New Jersey in the early 1990s and again in 2007 on charges of trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct.
James had no felony convictions and was not prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm, according to the AP. Police said the gun used in Tuesday’s attack was legally purchased in 2011 at a pawn shop in Columbus, Ohio, the Times reported. A search of James’ Philadelphia storage unit and apartment turned up at least two types of ammunition, including the kind used with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, a stun gun and a blue smoke canister.
Documenting trip on YouTube
James documented his travel from Wisconsin to the Northeast during a series of YouTube videos over the last few weeks, CNN reported.
The videos have since been removed by YouTube.
The day before the attack, James posted a video in which he said he had often wanted to kill and to “watch people die” right in front of him, The New York Times reported.
The thought of prison kept him from carrying that out, James added, “It’s important to think about what you’re going to do before you do it.”
In a video uploaded on March 20, James said that he had left Milwaukee and was spending the night in a Fort Wayne, Indiana, hotel.
“Just on the drive man I’m just thinking because I’m heading back into the danger zone so to speak,” James said in the video, according to CNN. “You know, it is triggering a lot of negative thoughts of course because I do suffer, I have a bad severe case of post-traumatic stress after the (expletive) I’ve been through all the (expletive) years, man.”
James then headed east from Fort Wayne and uploaded a video on March 21 in Pittsburgh. He said he was staying in a hotel near Pittsburgh International Airport. The following night, in another video, James said he was staying in a hotel near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Around March 25, James uploaded a video and said he was in the Philadelphia area, CNN reported.
In January, in a 44-minute video titled “DEAR MR MAYOR,” James criticized New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ plans to address gun violence and mental health issues, the Post reported.
He warned Adams that his program might slow down gun violence and a mental health epidemic, “but you aren’t going to stop it. … Violence is a part of your city. Violent people live in your city,” according to the newspaper.
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