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NYC subway shooter Frank James sentenced to life in prison

Photo courtesy of NYPD News/X
Photo courtesy of NYPD News/X

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Frank James, the man who pleaded guilty to wounding 10 people on a New York City subway car in a premeditated and planned terrorist attack during the morning rush hour of April of last year, has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

U.S. District Judge William Kuntz on Thursday sentenced James, 64, of Milwaukee, Wis., to 10 life sentences to be served concurrently plus 10 years. James pleaded guilty to 10 counts -- one for each of his shooting victims -- of committing a terrorist attack against a mass transportation vehicle and one firearms count in January.

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"It is my hope the harsh punishment handed down by the court helps bring closure and a sense of justice to the victims and serves as a deterrent to anyone who'd even think to travel and terrorize our city," FBI Special Agent Robert Kissane told reporters in a press conference outside the court after James was sentenced.

"FBI New York will ensure you meet a similar fate."

Shortly before 8:30 a.m. on the morning of April 12, 2022, James, wearing a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee disguise, donned a gas mask, set off a smoke bomb in a subway car and started firing at those he had trapped on the train at the 36th Street and Fourth Avenue station.

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He fired 32 rounds of a Glock 17 pistol toward his trapped commuters, and though 10 people were struck with 16 of his rounds, no victims succumbed to their injuries.

Prosecutors said James had planned the attack for years, purchasing smoke bombs, disguises, firearms and ammunition. They said he scouted the location and ran multiple practice runs before following through with his attack.

After firing his weapon, James fled the scene as he changed his clothing to avoid detection. He led police on a 36-hour manhunt before turning himself in by calling the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York told reporters that his attack not only instilled fear in the commuters he shot at but in the city at large, as schools went into lockdown, parents rushed to ensure the safety of their children and people were scared to take the subway.

"The daily lifeblood of New York City is in its transit system -- it's found in the subway cars that are responsible for safely transporting New Yorkers every single day. Frank James attempted to take that sense of safety away and inject fear and chaos into the heart of this city," Peace said.

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"While he found temporary success in his plot, due to the resilience of New Yorkers and our relentless pursuit of justice, he ultimately failed."

A spokesman with the attorney's office told reporters that James' defense has informed the court that they intend to appeal the sentence.

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