The man who was detained in the kidnapping of ten people on a Brooklyn subway on Wednesday was charged with a federal terrorism offense, a day after the incident.
At an afternoon press conference, the US Attorney General for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, revealed the charge against Frank R. James, 62. James was placed in custody in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood shortly before.
James was discovered by the authorities after receiving a letter from his friend about his location.
James is accused in the Tuesday attack in which five people were in critical condition after the morning shooting, but all ten gunshot victims were expected to survive. There is no evidence that James was linked to terrorists international or otherwise and the motive remains unclear.
Police initially said on Tuesday that James was being sought for questioning because he had used a van that might be connected to the attack, but they weren't sure if he was responsible for the shooting.
James had posted in online postings about racism and violence in the United States as well as his experiences in mental health care in New York City. In some videos, he criticized Adams' policies on mental health and subway safety.
According to authorities, the gunman attacked smoke grenades in a crowded subway car and fired at least 33 shots with a 9 mm handgun. At least a dozen others who wounded were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.
The shooter escaped in the chaos, but he remained clues, including the pistol, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, gasoline, and the key to a U-Haul van.
James, a New York City native who attended more recent meetings in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, was ultimately tracked by investigators.
In 2011, federal investigators determined that James' pistol was purchased at a pawn shop a licensed firearms dealer in the Columbus, Ohio, area.
The van was discovered near a station where investigators determined the gunman had entered the subway system. No explosives or firearms were discovered in the van, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to comment on the investigation, as well as pillows. Other items, including pillows, suggest he was sleeping or hoped to sleep in the van.
Investigators believe James came up from Philadelphia on Monday and have reviewed a surveillance video showing a man matching his physical description coming out of the van early Tuesday morning, according to the official. Other videos include James entering a subway station in Brooklyn with a large bag, according to the official.
Investigators were looking at hours of rambling and profanity-filled James posted on YouTube and other social media platforms as they tried to discern a motive.
James, who is black, criticizes crime against Black people in one video, saying, "An adolescent action is required."
"You got kids going here now, with machine guns, and mowing down innocent people," James adds. "It will not become better until we make it better," he adds, adding that he believed things would only change if certain people were "stomped, kicked, and tortured" out of their "comfort zone."
"This country was born in violence, it's maintained by violence or the threat thereof, and it will die a terrible death," he adds in another video. "There's nothing going to be halted."
His posts are filled with violent rhetoric and bigoted remarks, some against Black people.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell described the posts as "huge" and officials boosted security for Adams, who was already isolating Sunday.
Several of James' videos describe New York's subways. A Feb. 20 video states that the mayor and governor's in the subway system "is doomed for failure" and refers to himself as a "victim" of the city's mental health programs. A January 25 video criticized Adams.
The subway station in Brooklyn, where passengers fleeeeeed the smoke-filled train during the attack, was open as usual Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after the violence.
Jude Jacques, a Commuter who takes the D train to his job as a fire safety director two blocks from the shooting scene, said he prays every morning but had a special request on Wednesday.
Jacques said, "God, everything is in your hands." "I was anty, and you may imagine why. Everybody is worried because it just happened."