The NYPD released surveillance photos of Brooklyn Subway shooting suspect Frank R. James on Wednesday morning as survivors of the attack recalled the chilling final words of the gunman before he opened fire on the commuters, killing three and injuring 28. Some of the witnesses also described how they sat next to him as he pulled an ax before starting firing.
Some of the witnesses are still in shock and are unable to speak, while many consider themselves lucky to have survived the deadly attack. This comes amid reports that James' Glock had jammed in the midst of the carnage or he had planned to shoot more people.
Chilling Final Moment
The NYPD release a series of photos of James. He is seen standing without his gas mask at one of the city's 472 police stations. In another photo, the gunman looks to be beaming as he emerges from a subway stop.
One of the survivors, Hourari Benkada, who boarded the last N train car on Tuesday morning, said that he sat next to James who was wearing an MTA vest and carrying a duffle bag. However, he had no idea that the man would eventually unleash bloodshed and terror.
Another victim, Fitim Gjeloshi said that he came face to face with the shooter on the N train and was targeted by the gunman. Gjeloshi was boarding the N train in Brooklyn shortly before 8.30 a.m. when he observed the suspect talking to himself in the corner.
"I looked at him, and I thought to myself he was talking to himself for like a while, so I looked at him, and I was like, this guy must be on drugs," Gjeloshi told the New York Post.
Gjeloshi said that the gunman immediately whipped out a gas mask when the train short stopped underground after exiting the 59th Street station. "When [the train] was about to hit 36th Street, we stopped for 5 minutes. He takes out a gas mask from one of his little luggage[s]," the train rider told the outlet.
"He opened one of his gas tanks, and he said, 'Oops, my bad.' He pulls out an ax, he drops it, he takes a gun out, he starts shooting."
James Still at large
The next few minutes were spine chilling as James opened fire and people started running for their lives. At least 10 were hit by gunshots of which three died in the following hours.
Benkada, a housekeeping manager at the New Yorker Hotel, saw the man set up a "smoke bomb" before firing shots seconds after the train had left the station. Still visibly shaken, Benkada said, "I don't even know how I'm holding my phone" as he recounted what happened next.
"All you see is black smoke after the smoke bomb went off. People bum-rushing to the back," he told CNN. "About 10 shots went off. I think the gun jammed. I think he had an extended clip or something because I've never heard that many shots come off a handgun. It sounded like the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life."
James, 62, is now a suspect in the attack, and authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
The keys discovered at the homicide scene belonged to an abandoned U-Haul vehicle rented by James in Brooklyn, according to police. However, it's connection to the case is still unknown.
In social media posts, he reportedly made "concerning" threats against New York City Mayor Eric Adams and railed against the city's homelessness situation.
A Glock 17, three Glock magazines, shell casings, bullets, two detonated smoke grenades, two undetonated ones, and a hatchet were also found at the scene, police said.