Attorney for Subway Suspect: Avoid 'Rush to Judgment'

Frank James was ordered held without bail
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2022 1:37 PM CDT
Updated Apr 14, 2022 1:49 PM CDT
NYC Subway Attack Suspect Is Now in Custody
NYPD officers patrol platforms and train cars at the 36th Street subway station where a shooting attack occurred the previous day during the morning commute, Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Update: New York City subway shooting suspect Frank James was ordered held without bail on Thursday. The 62-year-old had a "subdued demeanor" in a court appearance as he quietly answered questions and acknowledged that he understood the charges against him, per the AP. Later, defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg cautioned against “a rush to judgment," saying outside the courtroom that "initial reports in a case like this are often inaccurate." Our earlier story from Wednesday follows:

Frank James was taken into custody Wednesday, hours after authorities said the 62-year-old had gone from being a "person of interest" to a suspect in Tuesday morning's New York City subway attack. Law enforcement sources tell NBC New York that James, who was at large for more than 24 hours after the attack, was apprehended in Manhattan's East Village after a call to a Crime Stoppers tip line. Sources tell ABC7 that James was named as a suspect after police determined they had probable cause to arrest James for the attempted murder of 10 people. Some 29 people were injured in the attack, including 10 who were shot on a subway train in Brooklyn and on the platform of 36th Street Station.

The motive for the mass shooting is unclear. James' sister, Catherine James Robinson, tells the New York Times that he was born in the Bronx but spent his life moving from city to city. Robinson, who denies that James is mentally ill, says their mother died when he was 5 years old and he has "been on his own his whole life." "I don’t think he would do anything like that," she says. James, who is Black, has been linked to a series of rambling videos on YouTube and elsewhere in which he makes racist and violent remarks about groups including Black people, CNN reports.

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In videos posted earlier this year, James mentioned New York City's subway system and criticized Mayor Eric Adams' plans to deal with homelessness and gun violence. In a video posted Monday, he said "drastic action" was needed to deal with crimes against Black people, the AP reports. "It’s not going to get better until we make it better,” he said. He said things wouldn't change until some people were “stomped, kicked, and tortured” out of their “comfort zone.” In videos from the weeks before the attack, James spoke about his travels across the country since leaving his apartment in Wisconsin. "I'm heading back into the danger zone," he said. (More New York City subway stories.)

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