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‘Malfunction’ means there’s no footage of NYC shooting suspect who has escaped without trace

A ‘malfunction’ meant security cameras were not working in at least three subway stations in New York City, thwarting police efforts to find footage of the gunman who managed to escape without trace after setting off smoke grenades and firing a barrage of bullets at trapped passengers.

Mayor Eric Adams said a ‘malfunction’ was the reason for the security cameras failing to capture any footage of the suspect, who remains at large, despite his promise to crack down on subway crime in the city.

It comes as a multi-state manhunt is now underway for Frank James, 62, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the attack which left 10 people injured with gunshot wounds, with police offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced last fall it had installed security cameras in all 472 subway stations citywide, saying they would put criminals on an ‘express track to justice’.

But cameras were not working at three stations where police went to look for evidence on Tuesday, Chief of Detectives James Essig said, in a frustrating development in their manhunt for the gunman. 

MTA system chief Janno Lieber said he did not know why the cameras malfunctioned, but insisted police had ‘a lot of different options’ from cameras elsewhere on the subway line to get a glimpse of the shooter.

The malfunction has meant police have still not caught the gunman more than 24 hours after he launched the terrifying attack on commuters.  

The blunder comes despite Mayor Adams promising a crackdown on crime in New York City’s subway system after a number of high-profile cases. 

A 'malfunction' meant security cameras were not working at least three subway stations in New York City, thwarting police efforts to find footage of the gunman who managed to escape without trace after setting off smoke grenades and firing a barrage of bullets at trapped passengers. Pictured: People lay injured on the subway platform

A ‘malfunction’ meant security cameras were not working at least three subway stations in New York City, thwarting police efforts to find footage of the gunman who managed to escape without trace after setting off smoke grenades and firing a barrage of bullets at trapped passengers. Pictured: People lay injured on the subway platform

Mayor Eric Adams said a 'malfunction' was the reason for the security cameras failing to capture any footage of the suspect, who remains at large, despite his promise to crack down on subway crime in the city

Mayor Eric Adams said a ‘malfunction’ was the reason for the security cameras failing to capture any footage of the suspect, who remains at large, despite his promise to crack down on subway crime in the city

A senior law enforcement official told the New York Times that it appeared none of the cameras at the 36th Street station in Sunset Park were working at the time of the shooting on Tuesday morning.

It is not known how many cameras in total have been affected by the malfunction, Mayor Adams said. However, investigators obtained cell phone video from an eyewitness that shows the suspect, a law enforcement source told CNN. 

The malfunction of the security cameras has hampered investigators’ efforts to find James, who has been named as a ‘person of interest’ in the attack. 

Police said the keys found at the crime scene belong to an abandoned U-Haul truck in Brooklyn that was rented by James. He also made ‘concerning’ threats against Mayor Adams and railed against the city’s homelessness crisis in social media posts.

The gunman, wearing in a gas mask and construction vest, set off smoke grenades and fired a barrage of bullets with a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the rush-hour subway train in Brooklyn.

Terrified passengers tried to get out of the carriage where the gunman was shooting passengers, but the door was locked. When the train pulled into 36th Street station in Sunset Park, injured passengers were seen laying on the floor that was streaked with blood as the gunman fled. 

At least 23 people were injured in the attack, but no casualties have been reported. Police said 10 people were struck directly by gunfire, five of them hospitalized in a critical but stable condition, while 13 others suffered respiratory distress or were otherwise injured in the crush of frantic passengers fleeing the smoke-filled subway car.  

Essig said police found the handgun, along with extended magazines, a hatchet, detonated and undetonated smoke grenades, a black garbage can, a rolling cart, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van.

That key led investigators to James, who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, the detective chief said. The van was later found, unoccupied, near a subway station where investigators determined the gunman entered the train system, Essig said.   

New York City has faced a spate of shootings and high-profile bloodshed in recent months, including on the city's subways. Pictured: Graphic showing crime rates in NYC

New York City has faced a spate of shootings and high-profile bloodshed in recent months, including on the city’s subways. Pictured: Graphic showing crime rates in NYC 

What does Adams’s subway safety plan for NYC look like?

The mayor’s plan lays out how the Adams administration, in partnership with the MTA and other state entities, will confront these concurrent challenges on New York City’s subway systems. Investments in people will provide immediate support and protection to New Yorkers, while investments in places like drop-in-centers, safe havens, stabilization beds, and Street Homeless Outreach Wellness vans, as well as policy changes at local, state, and federal levels will provide medium- and long-term solutions. These include:

  • Deploying up to 30 Joint Response Teams that bring together DHS, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYPD, and community-based providers in high-need locations across the city
  • Training NYPD officers in the city’s subway system to enforce the MTA and New York City Transit Authority’s rules of conduct in a fair and transparent way
  • Expanding Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division ‘B-HEARD’ teams to six new precincts, more than doubling the precincts covered to 11. These teams will expand on the already-successful pilot of answering non-violent 911 mental health calls with mental health professionals
  • Incorporating medical services into DHS sites serving individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Expanded DHS Safe Havens and stabilization bed programs will offer on-site physical and behavioral health care to immediately address clients’ needs
  • Immediately improving coordination across government with weekly ‘Enhanced Outreach Taskforce’ meetings that bring together senior leaders from 13 city and state agencies to address issues quickly
  • Creating new Drop-in-Centers to provide an immediate pathway for individuals to come indoors, and exploring opportunities to site Drop-in-Centers close to key subway stations to directly transition individuals from trains and platforms to safe spaces
  • Streamlining the placement process into supportive housing and reducing the amount of paperwork it takes to prove eligibility
  • Calling on state government to expand psychiatric bed resources and amending Kendra’s Law to improve mental health care delivery for New Yorkers on Assisted Outpatient Treatment
  • Requiring — instead of requesting — everyone to leave the train and the station at the end of the line 

The attack unnerved a city on guard about a rise in gun violence and the ever-present threat of terrorism.   

New York City has faced a spate of shootings and high-profile bloodshed 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.  

Subway rider Michelle Go, 40 — who was unexpectedly killed when suspect Simon Martial, 61, allegedly pushed her in front of an oncoming MTA train at the station on West 42nd St and Broadway in January.

Adams, a Democrat a little over 100 days into his term, has made cracking down on crime – especially in the subways – an early focus of his administration, pledging to send more police officers into stations and platforms for regular patrols. It wasn’t immediately clear if any officers were in the station when the shootings occurred.

‘It is going to take the entire nation to speak out and push back against the cult of death that has taken hold in this nation,’ Adams said by video Tuesday night.

Last month, it was revealed that New York City transit crimes surged by more than 200 percent in the first week of Mayor Adams’ crackdown on crime in the city’s subway system, when compared to the same span last year. 

The city reported 55 transit crimes from February 21 through February 27, more than triple the 18 recorded during same period in 2021 – a jump of 205.6 percent, New York Police Department (NYPD) statistics revealed.  

For the month of February, crimes on the city’s transit system also increased markedly, by 72.4 percent over the most recent 28-day period starting January 31, when compared to last year.

For the year, transit crimes have surged by a similar 72.8 percent, the data shows, with 375 incidents reported as of February 27, compared to 217 during the same stretch in 2021.

The concerning statistics come on the heels of recently sworn in Adams’ vow to clean up the crime-ridden subway system, amid a rash of reports of slashings, assaults, and even murder, on platforms and stations across the city.

Adam’s Subway Safety Plan initiative, announced by the mayor exactly two weeks ago on February 17, deployed 1,000 additional officers, as well as teams of health workers, into the city’s intricate subterranean network to crack down on the influx of crime.

‘No more smoking. No more doing drugs. No more sleeping. No more doing barbecues on the subway system. Not more just doing whatever you want,’ Adam said at a press event announcing the plan alongside New York Governor Kathy Hochul. 

‘Those days are over. Swipe your MetroCard. Ride the system. Get off at your destination.’ 

But Adams’ enforcement plan, which did not take effect effect on February 21 – the day the NYPD’s crime data for the week began – has so far failed miserably, as the statistics show, with a rash of attacks including one on a city-employed scientist with a hammer and another where an assailant smeared human feces on a victim. 

The suspect is Simon Martial, 61, pictured in a previous undated mugshot. He has been charged with murder in the Saturday incident

Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene

Simon Martial, 61, was arrested after he allegedly shoved Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, right, onto the subway tracks and killed her 

Despite Adams’ promises, there have been a number of high-profile cases of crime on the subway.  

In February, a woman who waiting for a train at a Bronx subway station was approached by a stranger who ‘struck her in the face and the back of the head with human feces,’ police said.

Frank Abrokwa, 37, was arrested February 28 in relation to the stomach-churning incident – which was captured on security video – and charged with forcible touching, menacing, disorderly conduct and harassment.       

Surveillance video from the East 241st Street subway station in the Bronx shows a man attacking an unsuspecting woman sitting on a bench on February 21

Surveillance video from the East 241st Street subway station in the Bronx shows a man attacking an unsuspecting woman sitting on a bench on February 21

The suspect lunges at the 43-year-old victim and shoves a plastic bag containing human feces into her face

The suspect lunges at the 43-year-old victim and shoves a plastic bag containing human feces into her face

The revolting attack took place without any apparent provocation during the evening rush hour

The revolting attack took place without any apparent provocation during the evening rush hour

In March, a 58-year-old research scientist for the New York City Health Department was on her way home when she was kicked down the stairs at a Queens  subway station and bashed in the head with a hammer.

Sickening surveillance video shows a robber kicking Dr Nina Rothschild down the steps and bashing her in the head repeatedly with a hammer, fracturing her skull days after Mayor Eric Adams vowed to crack down on violence in the transit system.

Many blame the crime wave on the lingering effects of the pandemic, compounded by the closure of mental health facilities under the reign of former Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as fewer cops due to the pandemic, vaccine mandates, and a smaller police budget spurred by the Defund the Police movement in 2020.

Joseph Giacalone, a crime data expert, former cop, and professor at the city’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News that the spate of subway crimes spells doom for a city ‘trying to get back on its feet’ after ‘the two big C’s’ – COVID and crime. 

 ‘If you’re thinking that people are going to be willing to come back after COVID, maybe,’ Giacalone told the outlet. 

‘But now you’re dealing with a crime issue – specifically in the subway, which is the lifeblood of New York City – if people fear going into the subways. And right now, when you look at these numbers, there is some reason to be hesitant.’ 

Pictured: Nina Rothschild, the 58-year-old city health worker who was kicked down the stairs and had her head repeatedly hit a hammer

Rothschild, pictured, was taken to nearby Weill Cornell Medical in critical condition

Pictured: Nina Rothschild, the 58-year-old NYC Department of Health scientist who was kicked down the stairs and had her head repeatedly hit a hammer. On Thursday, the woman was on her way home when she was kicked down the stairs at a Queens subway station and attacked

Sickening surveillance video shows a robber kicking Dr Nina Rothschild down the steps and bashing her in the head repeatedly with a hammer, fracturing her skull days after Mayor Eric Adams vowed to crack down on violence in the transit system.

Sickening surveillance video shows a robber kicking Dr Nina Rothschild down the steps and bashing her in the head repeatedly with a hammer, fracturing her skull days after Mayor Eric Adams vowed to crack down on violence in the transit system.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams was blasted earlier this year for saying there’s only a ‘perception’ of danger on the city’s subway, the day after a passenger was pushed to her death in a seemingly random attack.  

Speaking at a press conference, Adams said: ‘New Yorkers are safe on the subway system I think it’s about 1.7 percent of the crimes in New York City that occur on the subway system.

‘Think about that for a moment,’ he added. ‘What we must do is remove the perception of fear.

‘Cases like this aggravate the perception of fear,’ he said referring to the death of subway rider Michelle Go, 40 — who was unexpectedly killed when suspect Simon Martial, 61, allegedly pushed her in front of an oncoming MTA train in January at the station on West 42nd St and Broadway.

Go is believed to have been a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting. 

‘When you see homeless individuals with mental health issues not being attended to and given the proper services, that adds to the perception of fear,’ Adams said. 

Former Republican mayor candidate and Adam’s arch-nemesis, Curtis Sliwa, was the first among many users on Twitter to criticize the relatively new mayor’s comments, sharing: ‘The WHO has a song that says ‘the new boss is the same as the old boss.’ Adams is saying what DeBlasio said for 8 yrs – #mta crime is a perception & not real. He won’t confront Bragg & covers up subway crime. What happened to the law & order candidate?’ 

He was referring to Adams’ status as a former NYPD cop – and repeated promises to stamp-out spiraling crime in the Big Apple. 

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