Brooklyn Subway Shooting: 10 Shot, 19 Others Injured When Man in Gas Mask and Construction Vest Opens Fire
The grisly scene was discovered after the New York City Fire Department responded to a report of smoke at a Brooklyn subway station. There, emergency responders discovered 10 gunshot victims.
A massive hunt is underway for a man who hurled a smoke device into a crowded New York City subway car and then opened fire, shooting 10 people and injuring 19 others, authorities said Tuesday.
Five of the injured are in critical, but stable condition, fire officials said. The suspect remains at large, and was wearing a construction vest when he pulled on a gas mask during the height of Tuesday's morning commute and then started shooting, authorities said at a press conference.
The suspect fled as the N subway line train pulled into the 36th Street and Fourth Avenue train station in Brooklyn's Sunset Park, about 8:30 a.m., law enforcement officials said. Coughing and staggering, those inside the car stumbled onto the station platform, as others ran in a panic, according to social media videos posted by witnesses.
The injuries ranged from gun shot wounds to smoke inhalation and panic caused by the shootings, said Laura Kavanagh, the city's acting fire commissioner.
None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, said New York City Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
By late afternoon, police were looking for a U-Haul bearing Arizona license plate AL31408, which may be connected to the attack, according to reports. Investigators found a handgun at the station, which had apparently jammed, CNN reported, citing sources. High-capacity magazines were also found with the weapon, the cable network reported.
At about 5:20 p.m., New York police found the white U-Haul parked in Gravesend, a Brooklyn neighborhood about four miles south of Sunset Park, The Associated Press reported. The area around the unoccupied vehicle was being evacuated while officers awaited a bomb squad and the specialized emergency services unit.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul condemned the violence, and warned residents to be vigilant.
"Tranquility and normalness was disrupted, brutally disrupted, by an individual so cold-hearted and depraved of heart that they had no caring about the individuals that they assaulted as they simply went about their daily lives. This individual is still on the loose. This person is dangerous," Hochul said.
The governor said she had spoken with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has COVID-19. "He's recovering well. He is monitoring, he's actively engaged in the situation," she said. "I wanted to let him know that the people of the entire state of New York stand with the people of this city, this community, and we say 'No more. No more mass shootings.'"
Police Commissioner Sewell reconstructed the attack during Tuesday's news conference.
The carnage began about 8:24 a.m. as the Manhattan-bound train waited to enter the 36th Street station. The suspect pulled out a canister and then detonated it. "The train at that time began to fill with smoke, Sewell said. He then opened fire, striking multiple people on the subway and in the platform," she said.
"The suspect was in the train car. The shooting began in the train car," Sewell said.
Sewell described the suspect as Black male with a heavy build, wearing a green construction-type vest over a hooded gray sweatshirt.
There is no known motive, she said. "But we're not ruling anything out," she added.
President Joe Biden was briefed on the attack and "White House senior staff are in touch with Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Sewell to offer any assistance as needed," said press secretary Jen Psaki.
Passenger Yav Montano said he was inside the subway car where the attack took place. At first, he thought someone had set off fireworks, he told CNN. And then the car filled with choking smoke.
"There was blood on the floor. There was a lot of blood trailing on the floor ... All I saw was people trampling each other, trampling over each other, trying to get into the door which was locked, and just a lot of panic, but thankfully, the train moved quickly to the next stop and everyone filed off the train in a rush," he said.
Mantano said he tried to hide behind a seat, and made room for an elderly woman, who "handed me her little pepper spray from her purse just in case something happened. She gave it to me out of her purse and said 'use it just in case,'" he said.
Mantano had starting filming with his cellphone, but a fellow passenger told him to stop, lest he call attention to himself.
Brooklyn resident Will Wylde said he was in a subway car immediately next door.
He heard a commotion in the next car, he told CNN, and popping noises. "People started banging on the door trying to get through," he said, but the door between the cars was locked.
Another passenger who was standing on the platform said transit authorities initially described the incident as only a "smoke issue."
The grisly scene was discovered after the fire department responded to a call about smoke in the subway station.
Video of the scene posted on the Citizen app showed streets blocked off and a heavy law enforcement and ambulance presence. Graphic images of the bloody aftermath were also shown.
Emergency phone alerts were sent to Brooklyn residents to avoid neighborhoods between 3rd and 5th Avenues from 20th to 40th Streets. Some schools and businesses were placed on lockdown as police search for the suspect. Helicopters continued to circle the area hours after the shootings.
"Any witnesses are asked to call @NYPDTips at #800577TIPS. Please stay clear of the area," the NYPD said.
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