Frank James pleads guilty to Brooklyn subway shooting

Frank James pleaded guilty Tuesday to conducting a terrorism attack on a New York City subway on April 12, 2022. Photo courtesy of NYPD/Twitter
Frank James pleaded guilty Tuesday to conducting a terrorism attack on a New York City subway on April 12, 2022. Photo courtesy of NYPD/Twitter

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Frank James, the man accused of shooting 10 people in a Brooklyn subway station in April, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to terrorism charges, prosecutors said.

James, 63, of Milwaukee, Wis., pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Brooklyn courtroom to 10 counts -- one for each of his shooting victims -- of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation vehicle and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of his attack.


"Today's guilty plea is a distinct admission of the terror Mr. James inflicted on New Yorkers last April in Brooklyn, and he is being held accountable for his reprehensible actions that morning," Commissioner Keechant Sewell of the New York City Police Department said in a statement after James entered his guilty plea.

"Our nation's largest transit system is the lifeblood of New York City. And its subway riders expect and deserve the brisk, coordinated and meticulous work exhibited by everyone involved in bringing this terrible incident to a successful close."


Sentencing has yet to be scheduled, but James faces up to life in prison for each of the 11 counts.

In his guilty plea, James admitted to conducting a planned attack April 12, on an N subway train in Brooklyn that resulted in 10 people shot and a total of 29 injured.

A large presence of NYPD Police officers and FDNY firefighters surround a subway entrance near where at least 10 people were shot after a shooting in a subway station on 4th Avenue in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Though no one died, prosecutors accused him of attempting to kill dozens of New Yorkers during rush hour that day when shortly before 8:30 a.m. James, disguised as a metro employee in an orange reflective jacket and and a yellow hard hat, set off a smoke grenade and opened fire inside a train at the 36th Street an Fourth Avenue station.

Prosecutors said the smoke grenade was deployed to cause passengers to panic and seek refuge in one end of the subway car where James could easily shoot his victims.

Along with the 10 people shot, others suffered from smoke inhalation and other physical injuries.


"The defendant set off a smoke bomb in a New York City subway car and then fired a handgun more than 30 times, striking 10 innocent passengers," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Tuesday. "Today's guilty plea demonstrates that the Justice Department will work relentlessly to hold accountable those who engage in mass violence and terrorize our communities."

Following the shooting, law enforcement launched a manhunt for James, who was arrested the next day by patrol officers in Manhattans East Village after being spotted by civilians.

Prosecutors said James had planned the attack as early as 2017 when he began to purchase smoke grenades, ammunition, weapons and his Metropolitan transportation Authority disguise.

After his arrest, officers found a stockpile of weapons, including an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, in his apartment and storage unit.

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