Sister of Brooklyn Subway Shooting Suspect Frank James Says He Was 'On His Own His Whole Life'

Frank James
Frank James being arrested by New York Police Department officers on Wednesday.AFP/Getty

Catherine Robinson said she hadn't spoke to her brother, suspected Brooklyn Subway Shooter Frank James, in years.

The man suspected of opening fire on a crowded New York City subway car is a loner who was "on his own his whole life," according to his sister.

Catherine James Robinson, in interviews with a handful of media outlets, described her 62-year-old brother as someone who kept to himself, and moved from place to place, never staying long in any of them, she told The New York Times.

"He's been on his own his whole life," she said.

Frank James is accused of shooting 10 people on a Manhattan-bound N train Wednesday morning, at the height of commuter rush-hour. After igniting a smoke device and donning a gas mask, James allegedly fired 33 rounds into the panicked car. Five of the gunshot victims were in critical, but stable condition, authorities said. Thirteen others were injured by shrapnel and by stampeding passengers, police said.

James was arraigned in federal court Thursday and ordered held without bail. He did not enter a plea. He was arrested Wednesday by New York Police Department officers, a day after the attack in Brooklyn's Sunset Park. 

Robinson said she had not spoken to her sibling in three years. “I don’t know what might have been his motivation. Last I spoke to him was like three years ago,” Robinson told the Daily Beast. “We don’t keep in contact with each other … I don’t know what he was thinking, I don’t know anything about why he might have done what he did.”

Nonetheless, Robinson told The Times she was surprised by the acts he was accused of committing. 

“I don’t think he would do anything like that,” she said. “That’s not in his nature to do anything like that.”

But a neighbor in Wisconsin, where Robinson lived until last month, authorities said, described him as angry.

Keilah Miller, who told USA Today she lived across from James in a Milwaukee apartment building, said she was frightened when she saw his photo being circulated in connection with the subway attack.

Miller said James was her neighbor for about six to eight months. She said he was "angry, loud and alone."

After learning James had been named as a suspect, Miller said she packed some things, left her apartment and went to stay with a friend.

"I’m scared to go back home until someone says the place is clear," she said.

"I always heard a lot of yelling, but I never saw anyone else go into the apartment but him," Miller said.

Robinson told the New York Post she hadn't spoken to her brother since their younger sister died a few years ago. “He kept to himself, he was a loner,” she said. “Yes, he was.”

Phone messages left for Robinson Thursday by Inside Edition Digital were not returned.

James had discussed violence extensively, expressed bigoted views and criticized New York City's mayor in numerous video clips he posted online. James spoke openly and often about violence in videos he appeared to have posted on the YouTube channel, “prophet of truth 88,” which by early Wednesday had been terminated by the social media platform. His Facebook account contained similar posts and has also been removed.

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