Gunman opens fire on Brooklyn’s subway; at least 10 shots

NEW YORK (AP) – An armed man in a construction vest put on a gas mask, set off a smoke tank on a subway train during rush hour and shot at least 10 people Tuesday morning, authorities said. The shooter was at large and described as dangerous after leaving wounded commuters bleeding on a Brooklyn platform while others ran screaming.

Five people were in critical but condition but expected to survive. At least 16 in total were injured in some way in the attack, which began on a subway train that pulled into 36th Street Station in the neighborhood’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the attack was not being investigated as terrorism, but that she “does not rule out anything.” The perpetrator has not been identified and the motive is still unknown.

“My subway door opened in disaster. It was smoke and blood and people screaming, “eyewitness Sam Carcamo told radio station 1010 WINS, saying he saw a giant wave of smoke billowing out of the N train as the door opened.

The attack disturbed a city on guard, and an increase in gun violence and the ever-present threat of terrorism. It made some New Yorkers nervous about driving on the country’s busiest subway system and prompted officials to increase police work at transportation hubs from Philadelphia to Connecticut.

A rider’s video, recorded through a closed door between subway cars, shows a person in a hoodie raising an arm and pointing at something – possibly the door to a conductor’s cabin – while five bangs sound. In another video, smoke and people flow out of a subway car, and the wailing erupts as passengers run after an exit, while a few others limp off the train. One falls down on the platform and one person shouts, “Someone is calling 911!”

Law enforcement has been spotted at the scene of a reported shooting at a NYC subway station. (CNN, WABC)

Other videos and photos from the site show people caring for bloody passengers lying on the platform, some in the middle of what appear to be small puddles, and another person on the floor of a subway car.

Juliana Fonda, a broadcast engineer at WNYC-FM, told her news site Gothamist that she was riding in the train when passengers from the car behind her started knocking on the door between them.

“There were a lot of loud bumps and there was smoke in the other car,” she said. “And people tried to get in, but they could not, they knocked on the door to get into our car.”

As police searched for the shooter, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned New Yorkers to be on guard.

“This person is still at large. This person is dangerous,” the Democrat told a news conference. “This is an active shooting situation right now in New York City.”

Fire and police officials investigated reports that there had been an explosion, but Sewell said at a news conference just after noon that there were no known explosive devices. More smoke equipment was found at the scene, said Mayor spokesman Fabien Levy.

After people streamed out of the train, fast-thinking transit workers led passengers to another train across the platform for safety reasons, noted system manager Janno Lieber.

High school student John Butsikaris was riding on the other train when he saw a conductor urging everyone to enter. He thought there might just be a banal problem until the next stop when he heard screams for medical attention and his train was evacuated.

“I’m definitely shaken,” the 15-year-old told The Associated Press. “Even though I did not see what happened, I am still scared, because it was like a few meters away from me, what happened.”

No transit workers were physically injured, according to their union. In addition to gunshot wounds, the injured riders were treated for smoke inhalation, shrapnel and panic.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and US Attorney Merrick Garland were briefed on the incident. New York Mayor Eric Adams, who is isolating himself after a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday, said in a video statement that the city “will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized, even by a single individual.”

The incident happened on a subway line that runs through southern Brooklyn in a neighborhood that is predominantly home to Latin American and Asian communities and about a 15-minute train ride to Manhattan. Local schools, including Sunset Park High School across the street from the station, were locked down.

Danny Mastrogiorgio of Brooklyn had just dropped his son off at school when he saw a love affair with passengers, some of them injured, running up the subway stairs at the nearby 25th Street station in panic. At least two had visible leg injuries, he said.

“It was insane,” he told the AP. “No one knew exactly what was going on.”

Allan Lee was running his business, Cafe Nube, when half a dozen police cars and fire trucks suddenly met on the block containing 36th Street station.

“Then they started leading people who were on the block to the adjacent block and then closed the entrance to the subway” near the cafe’s door, he told the AP. When he noticed bombers and dogs, he was sure it was not an everyday metro problem.

A sea of ​​emergency lights was visible from at least a dozen streets away where a police roadblock had been set up.

New York City has faced a wave of shootings and high-profile incidents in recent months, including in the city’s subways. One of the most shocking was in January when a woman was pushed to death in front of a train by a stranger.

Adams, a Democrat just over 100 days into office, has made the fight against crime – especially on the subways – a focus of his early administration, committing to sending more police officers to stations and platforms for regular patrols. It was not immediately clear if officers had already been inside the station when the shootings took place.

“We say: No more. No more mass shootings. No more disruptive lives. No more creating heartache for people just trying to live their lives like normal New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “It must stop.”

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Associated Press reporters Michael Balsamo in Washington and Jennifer Peltz, Karen Matthews, Michelle L. Price and Julie Walker in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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