The man accused of shooting 10 people on a Brooklyn subway train was arressted on Wednesday and charged with a federal terrorism offence.
The man, identified as Frank R James, 62, was taken into custody about 30 hours after the shooting on a rush-hour train, which left five people in critical condition and people around the city on edge.
James was scheduled to be produced in court on a charge that pertains to terrorist or other violent attacks against mass transit systems and carries a sentence of up to life in prison, according to Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace.
In recent months, James railed in online videos about racism and violence in America and about his experiences with mental health care in New York City, and he had criticised New York Mayor Eric Adams' policies on mental health and subway safety. But the motive for the subway attack remains unclear and there is no indication that James had ties to terror organisations, international or otherwise, according to Peace.
As terrified commuters fled the attack, James apparently hopped another train — the same one many were steered to for safety, according to the police.
According to the police, James got out at the next station, disappearing into the city. Police launched a massive effort to find him, releasing his name and issuing cellphone alerts.
Police got a tip on Wednesday that he was in a McDonald's in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood. James was gone when officers arrived, but they soon spotted him on a busy corner nearby.
Four police cars zoomed around a corner, officers leaped out and, soon, a compliant James was in handcuffs as a crowd of people looked on, witness Aleksei Korobow said.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said authorities “were able to shrink his world quickly”. She said, “There was nowhere left for him to run."
The day before, James set off smoke grenades in a commuter-packed subway car and then fired at least 33 shots with a 9 mm handgun, police said.
Police Chief of Detectives James Essig said police were told that after James opened one of the smoke grenades, a rider asked, “What did you do?”
At least a dozen people who escaped gunshot wounds were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.
The shooter left behind numerous clues, including the gun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van. That key led investigators to James.
Federal investigators determined the gun used in the shooting was purchased by James at a pawn shop — a licensed firearms dealer — in the Columbus, Ohio, area in 2011.
According to AP, James had an erratic work history, arrests for a string of mostly low-level crimes, a storage locker with more ammunition, and hours of rambling, bigoted, profanity-laced videos on his YouTube channel that point to a deep, simmering anger.
With AP inputs