April 12, 2022
SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) — At least 16 people were shot or otherwise injured after a lone gunman in a reflective vest and a gas mask threw smoke bombs on a subway car in Brooklyn and began shooting Tuesday morning.
A manhunt is now underway as details continue to emerge in this developing situation.
Police say the shooting happened on a Manhattan bound N train making express stops just before 8:30 a.m., and that the suspect was seen mumbling to himself before donning the gas mask and removing a canister from a bag before the car began to fill with smoke.
He then opened fire with a handgun, striking several people on the train and on the platform at the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park.
The train then continued to the 25th Street station in Greenwood Heights.
“This perpetrator dropped those smoke cans, if that’s what they are, and shot around, and then exited from that point,” retired NYC Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “He’s not going to stay on there if there’s smoke on there, even if he has the filter mask.”
Shell casings were recovered on the train and on the platform along with a handgun that had three extended round magazines. One in the gun jammed, which is believed to have saved lives.
Multiple smoke devices and a bag of commercial grade fireworks were also recovered.
While the cameras in the station were inoperable, law enforcement officials were able to get an image of the suspect from a bystander’s cell phone video.
Mayor Eric Adams, who remains under quarantine due to his COVID diagnosis, released a video statement on his various social media accounts.
“We’re praying for all New Yorkers who were injured or affected by today’s attack,” he said. “So far, we know that we have a multiple number of injuries, including victims of gunshot wounds…We will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized even by a single individual. The NYPD is searching for the suspect at large, and we will find him.”
My statement on this morning's shooting in Brooklyn: pic.twitter.com/TbLfCZa7WW
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) April 12, 2022
Officials confirmed 10 of the victims, who range in age from 17 to 50, were shot, and five are listed in critical but stable condition. None of the injuries are considered life threatening.
It is unclear if the gunman fled out of a station or into the subway tunnel.
Governor Kathy Hochul called the suspect “cold hearted and depraved” and warned that he remains on the loose and dangerous.
“We say no more,” she said. “No more mass shootings. No more disrupting lives. No more creating heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers. It has to end and it ends now…Everyone involved in this has one purpose, and it is to stop the insanity of these crimes.”
NYU Langone-Brooklyn told the ABC News Medical Unit they took eight patients who are in stable condition, while five of the victims are at Maimonides Medical Center, with two were being treated for gunshot wounds and three for smoke inhalation.
NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital is currently treating a total of three patients.
No arrests have been made, and schools in the area went into a shelter in place as the search continues. Those shelter in place orders started lifting at some schools by 1 p.m. but will remain in place at the schools closest to the shooting scene.
Police were looking at as many as four packages initially deemed suspicious, but they were later determined to be unfounded.
“I saw a lot of people coming out of the train station,” said a man who works in the area. “One of them was injured. I believe it was a lady that was getting shot in her leg, and a lot of people was coming up from side to side, screaming, asking for help.”
A mother described a chaotic scene after dropping her daughter off at school.
“All you heard was a big, loud noise that sounded like a big bang, an explosion, and then there were people running out of the train station,” she said. “So it was just very hectic this morning.”
A student from Brooklyn Tech was on the subway when it happened.
“I was a few cars down, and the conductor told everyone to get on the train,” he said. “I was just scared, and at the next stop, he told everyone to get off. Everyone evacuated, and I didn’t know what happened.”
The suspect was described as a male, 5-foot-5 and 175 to 180 pounds, wearing a green construction vest and gray hooded sweatshirt.
“This morning, Sunset Park commuters were assaulted by a senseless act of violence,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said. “As always in a time of crisis, Brooklynites experienced the swift reaction of our city’s first responders, including the MTA, NYPD, and FDNY. I am deeply heartened to see the Sunset Park community coming together during this time of tragedy – Brooklyn stands with you. I will continue to work with local authorities and elected officials as more details of the attack are confirmed and the perpetrator is found.”
An FBI official says they are assisting NYPD and that it does not appear related to terrorism at the moment, but FBI headquarters is monitoring.
There are subway disruptions throughout the area across multiple lines. CLICK HERE for the latest MTA service updates.
Nassau County police said they are increasing patrols around all critical infrastructure with an emphasis on mass transit, though there is no known threat, and that Commissioner Patrick Ryder has been in conversations with the NYPD and has briefed Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released a statement on Twitter.
We are praying for the victims and those impacted by this morning's horrific shooting in Brooklyn. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with our partners in New York to ensure everyone’s safety.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 12, 2022
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has been apprised of the situation.
@POTUS has been briefed on the latest developments regarding the New York City subway shooting. White House senior staff are in touch with Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Sewell to offer any assistance as needed.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) April 12, 2022
A Department of Justice spokesperson said Attorney General Merrick Garland has also received a preliminary briefing and is monitoring the situation.
Police officers were canvassing 4th Avenue, the station’s cross-street, asking witnesses whether they were on the train. A sea of emergency lights was visible from at least a dozen blocks away, where a police cordon was set up.
This latest incident comes as New York City has faced a spate of shootings and high-profile incidents in recent months, including on the city’s subways. One of the most shocking was in January when a woman was pushed to her death in front of a train by a stranger.
Adams has made cracking down on crime, especially on the subways, a focus of his early administration, pledging to send more police officers into stations and platforms for regular patrols.