Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James was held without bond as he made his first court appearance on Thursday charged with staging a terrorist attack on mass transit.
James, 62, was arraigned in the federal court in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon, some 24 hours after being dramatically arrested on the sidewalk in the East Village.
On Thursday, he was represented in court by public defenders and said nothing as the judge addressed him other than answering ‘yes’. Asked if he’d seen the complaint against him, he said: ‘Yes I have.’
Public defenders asked for a psychiatric evaluation to be carried out in custody. They also asked for magnesium tablets for James, who suffers ‘leg cramps’.
He said he understood the charges against him. James waived his right to a preliminary hearing. He was held without bond.
Prosecutor Sara Winik told the court: ‘The defendant terrifyingly opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, interrupting their commute in a way that has not been seen for 20 years.
‘This was premeditated, carefully planned and it caused terror among our entire city.’
Frank James is shown (far right) sitting at the defense table in court on Thursday to be arraigned on a terrorist charge
Frank James is shown entering the subway in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning before the attack. He was held without bond
James is shown 15 minutes after the attack, leaving the subway after committing the attack
Prosecutors submitted this memo asking the judge to deny bond before the hearing on Thursday which detailed some of what they found in the gunman’s rented apartment, U-Haul van and storage unit in Philadelphia. He had ammunition fit for an AR-15 rifle, smoke cannisters, a torch and a gun silencer
TUESDAY, 4 AM: James is shown driving into New York from Philadelphia at 4.11am on Tuesday, the morning of the attack, in the U-Haul. A key to the U-Haul was found along with the gun registered to his name inside the subway station after the attack. Police found a tank of propane gas in the vehicle on Tuesday afternoon
James left his home in Wisconsin on March 20, driving through Illinois and Indiana, to New Jersey. From there, he traveled to Philadelphia. Then, he spent two weeks in the rented apartment before Tuesday’s attack
The construction vest that Frank James discarded moments after opening fire on the subway
James evaded police for 29 hours before calling the cops himself on Wednesday and telling them where he was. At around the same time, a bystander recognized him and called police
Prosecutors say James staged a premeditated attack when he shot ten people and injured others on the northbound N train at around 8.25am on Tuesday during rush hour.
In court documents filed on Thursday, prosecutors detailed how more ammunition was found in James’ rented Philadelphia apartment, including an extended round magazine that was fit for a semi-automatic rifle. No such firearm has been found yet in connection with the suspect.
His 9mm handgun was found at the 36th Street subway station on Tuesday, after the attack, along with spent shell casings, fireworks, and a key to his U-Haul.
Police have also searched a storage unit in Philadelphia, where he was keeping more ammunition, a torch and a gun silencer.
There was a propane gas tank in the U-Haul when police swooped in on it on Tuesday afternoon.
James dumped the truck five miles from the 36th Street subway. He was filmed walking
James’ motive remains unknown.
On April 11, the night before the attack, prosecutors say James took a Lyft to a storage unit in Philadelphia to retrieve some belongings.
Inside that storage unit, police later found ‘9mm ammunition, a threaded 9mm pistol barrel that allows 8 for a silencer or suppresser to be attached, targets and .223 caliber ammunition, which is used with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle’.
James had rented the apartment for 15 days starting on March 28, then extended his reservation from April 11 until April 15.
Police found an ’empty magazine for a Glock handgun, a taser, a high-capacity rifle magazine and a blue smoke cannister,’ inside that apartment on Wednesday.
McDaniel told The Times that she found a half-empty suitcase and a pair of scissors inside the apartment on Tuesday.
‘At that time, I decided to let me get out of here,’ she told the Times.
When SWAT teams swooped on the property, they held a gun up at neighbor Ayana McKay, 23, and demanded to know if she was a hostage or hiding anyone inside the home.
It was before James was arrested in the East Village. Bronx-born James is believed to have lost his mother at the age of five and then spent much of his life as a loner.
His sister said yesterday that he moved from ‘city to city’ and that she hadn’t spoken to him for three years.
Frank James, 62, had rented this two-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia for $ 87-a-night for two weeks before the shooting. He filmed videos from the apartment, and police found gun ammunition there when they searched it on Wednesday before his arrest
A desk inside the apartment where James filmed some of his ranting YouTube videos. The account was shut down on Wednesday hours before his arrest
His ranting, hate-filled videos are now being closely examined by law enforcement.
In one clip, posted the day before the attack, he said he wanted to harm people.
‘I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die, ‘he said.
Mayor Eric Adams has suggested that it was the responsibility of YouTube to monitor the videos and report them.
It was previously revealed that James was known to the FBI’s Guardian Program, which tracks terror threats and suspects.
It was over an unknown incident in New Mexico in 2019. At the time, he was cleared of wrongdoing.