Brooklyn subway shooting: Five to split reward for leading NYPD to suspect
New York, New York - When one of the five tipsters in line to split a Crime Stoppers reward pointed out subway shooting suspect Frank James to police, a responding officer called out: "Hey, Frank!"
James turned toward the group of officers and answered: "I’ve been waiting for you."
That account from law enforcement sources was among the new details to emerge about the arrest Wednesday that brought a sense of relief to New Yorkers rattled by the Tuesday morning subway shooting in Brooklyn.
The tipsters will split a $50,000 reward for spotting James, who stands accused of opening up smoke bombs and firing more than 30 bullets inside a jam-packed Manhattan-bound N train as it approached the 36th Street station in Sunset Park on Tuesday morning.
The terrifying shooting left 10 riders shot, 13 others injured, and a city of commuters hesitant to step on a train in the world’s largest transit system.
Smartphones throughout the city lit up with an emergency push alert Wednesday morning, asking New Yorkers to be on the lookout for James (62), who had been loose on city streets for about 24 hours.
Tips on James’ whereabouts began filing in, leading detectives on a wild Manhattan manhunt.
James called the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline himself, telling dispatchers he was in the East Village. He let the operator know what he was wearing and that he was carrying a green backpack, sources said.
He told the operator he was seeing his face all over the news and would be plugging his low-on-juice cellphone in to charge at a nearby McDonald’s.
When police arrived at the fast food restaurant, James was already gone. That's when another eagle-eyed onlooker stepped up.
"This guy is gonna do it again if we don’t catch him"
Only moments later, security camera company worker Zack Tahhan (21) of Union City, New Jersey, and two of his friends alerted police that James was charging his phone at a LinkNYC city internet kiosk.
James was taken into custody just after 1:40 PM at St. Mark’s Place and First Avenue in the East Village.
"If you smoke one cigar, you’re gonna want to smoke two cigars, you know? Like, this guy is gonna do it again if we don’t catch him, and we catch him. Thank God!" Tahhan said after the arrest.
Tahhan, his two friends, and Twitter user Jack Griffin, who spotted James outside trendy Chinatown restaurant Dimes, will be four of the five recipients collecting the reward, police sources said.
The fifth person was not identified by police, as Crime Stoppers reward beneficiaries are offered anonymity.
The reward money consists of donations from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the New York City Police Foundation. Under Crime Stoppers rules, the money is distributed upon the arrest and indictment of a suspect.
"Thanks to the help of these five good Samaritans, the NYPD was able to do its job and get a dangerous suspect off the streets just hours after his picture was released," Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. "The bravery of these five individuals are what truly make New York City the greatest city in the world."
James was ordered held without bail at a brief Brooklyn Federal Court hearing Thursday afternoon.
Cover photo: REUTERS