Frank R. James, who law enforcement officers believe committed the worst attack on New York’s subway system in years, was taken into custody Wednesday, more than 24 hours after an extensive search that erupted after at least 10 people were shot at a Brooklyn train station.
“We’ve got him,” Mayor Eric Adams, the first official to speak at an afternoon news conference, said. “We’ve got him.”
According to Breon S. Peace, the US attorney for New York’s Eastern District, Mr. James has been arrested in the East Village, officials said, and has been charged with committing an act of terrorism on a public transit system. If convicted, Mr. James to receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Officials said Mr James was arrested thanks to a tip that came in from a McDonald’s on Sixth Street and First Avenue. Officers responded and when Mr. James was not present, they began driving around the neighborhood. They found him on the corner of St. Marks Place and First Avenue, one of the busier intersections in the East Village, and took him into custody without incident.
“We were able to shrink his world quickly,” said New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “There was nowhere left for him to run.”
Officials said that Mr. After the attack the day before, James had left the N train where the shooting had taken place and boarded a local train across the platform, the R train, where several of his victims had also fled. He exited the subway system on 25th Street and managed to evade police for more than a day.
James had been arrested many times before, officials said, including nine previous arrests in New York, most for felony charges, and three arrests in New Jersey.
His arrest on Wednesday ended a frenetic search that began after the shooting at the Sunset Park subway station, which left at least 23 people injured.
Officials said Mr James was the man who, wearing a construction worker helmet and vest and a gas mask, threw two smoke grenades onto the floor of the N train and fired a barrage of gunfire into the car around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. had let go. †
He escaped, but police discovered a series of belongings on the train that he appeared to have left behind, including a Glock 9-millimeter pistol, three ammunition magazines, a credit card with Mr. James’s name on it, and a key to a U-Haul van.
That vehicle was abandoned late Tuesday afternoon on a street in the Gravesend neighborhood about 5 miles from the 36th Street station in Sunset Park, where the shooting had taken place.
According to a criminal charge filed in federal court Wednesday, Mr. James reserved and prepaid the van from U-Haul on April 6, and picked it up in Philadelphia on April 11. At around 4:11 a.m. Wednesday, surveillance cameras caught the van crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn.
According to the complaint, a security camera on West 7th Street and Kings Highway in Brooklyn captured at 6:12 a.m. someone exiting the van — parked where it was later found Tuesday — wearing a yellow helmet and orange work jacket, carrying a backpack and dragging a rolling bag.
The person matched the description of at least one witness to the subway attack later that morning.
The massive manhunt for Mr. James, who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, involved a wide review of security cameras throughout the subway system; a spacious 17-block lot in Sunset Park for surveillance footage of stores or other signs of Mr. James; and a search for information about the gun, which matched a serial number in federal records.
But the investigation was complicated by the malfunction of at least one security camera at the station where the shooting took place. A senior law enforcement officer briefed on the investigation said it appeared that none of the security cameras were fully operational at the time of the gunfire.
Police chief James Essig said detectives saw Mr James on video entering the subway system at Kings Highway station on the N line Tuesday morning. The video showed him carrying a bag that was later found at the crime scene.
Footage later shows Mr. James exiting the subway system at the 25th Street station, one stop from the scene of the shooting, Chief Essig said.
He was then spotted about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday entering the 7th Avenue subway stop in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, more than a mile away, at around 9:15 a.m., Chief Essig said. At the time, investigators had just begun their effort to track him down.
As part of the investigation, the complaint says, authorities searched a Philadelphia warehouse that Mr. James visited the night before the attack. At the facility, they found ammunition for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm pistol.
According to the complaint, detectives also seized items — including a stun gun and an empty magazine for a Glock pistol — from an apartment Mr. James rented in Philadelphia.
Michael Gold and Andy Newman reporting contributed.