NYC subway shooter pleads guilty to terrorism charges

3 weeks ago 75
Subway platform 2

Video shows inside NYC subway car 'after all the popping'

01:23 - Source: CNN

CNN  — 

[Breaking news update at 3:33 p.m. ET]

Frank James, who opened fire on a crowded New York City subway train last April, wounding 10 people, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to terrorism charges.

[Previous story, published at 12:46 a.m. ET]

The man accused of randomly shooting passengers on a Brooklyn subway in April intends to plead guilty to terrorism charges in federal court Tuesday, according to court documents.

Frank James faces 10 counts – one for each gunshot victim – of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation system, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the indictment filed in December.

Court-appointed attorneys for James wrote in a letter to the court last month that their client, who had earlier entered a not guilty plea on two charges, “wishes to schedule a guilty plea to the superseding indictment.”

The guilty plea is scheduled to come almost nine months after James allegedly put on a gas mask, set off a smoke device and opened fire at passengers riding a subway train in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park during the morning commute, firing at least 33 times, according to authorities.

Along with the 10 people wounded by gunfire, others were injured by the smoke. In all, 29 people were hospitalized.

James faces up to life in prison on each of the 11 counts in the new indictment, according to prosecutors.

One of the wounded, Hourari Benkada, 27, said he was on the N train and sat next to a man with a duffel bag and reflective vest who let off a “smoke bomb.”

“And all you see (is) smoke – black smoke … going off, and then people bum-rushing to the back,” Benkada said. “This pregnant woman was in front of me. I was trying to help her. I didn’t know there were shots at first. I just thought it was a black smoke bomb.

“She said, ‘I’m pregnant with a baby.’ I hugged her. And then the bum-rush continued. I got pushed, and that’s when I got shot in the back of my knee.”

James was arrested a day later in Manhattan’s Lower East Side after calling in a tip on himself. Items left behind at the scene, including a credit card, a set of keys, a construction jacket and a gun – were tied back to James by investigators.

The accused has a lengthy criminal history and had posted rambling videos on a YouTube channel in which he talked about violence and mass shootings, and said he’s thought about killing people who have presumably hurt him.

In one posted just a day before the shootings, James talked about someone who engaged in violence and ended up in jail. He said he could identify but talked about the consequences.

“I’ve been through a lot of s**t, where I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die right in front of my f**king face immediately. But I thought about the fact that, hey man, I don’t want to go to no f**king prison.”

In another video posted in February criticizing New York Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to address safety and homelessness in the subway, James spoke about his negative experience with city health workers during a “crisis of mental health back in the ’90s ‘80s and ‘70s.”

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