By JIM MUSTIAN, JENNIFER PELTZ and MICHAEL R. SISAK
NEW YORK (AP) — Police have located an unoccupied U-Haul van in Brooklyn that matches the description and license plate number of the vehicle wanted in connection with Tuesday’s rush-hour subway shooting, a said police officer.
Police blocked a road about four miles from the scene and cleared nearby businesses while awaiting a bomb squad and the highly specialized EMS unit.
The officer was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Officials across the city were told to stop the U-Haul truck and arrest all occupants immediately if they saw the U-Haul truck.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
A gunman wearing a gas mask and a construction vest ignited a smoke canister on a rush hour subway train in Brooklyn on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people, authorities said. Police searched the city for the shooter and a rental car.
A scare scene unfolded as frightened commuters ran off the train while others limped off. At least one driver collapsed on the platform.
“My subway door opened in an accident. There was smoke and blood and people were screaming,” eyewitness Sam Carcamo told radio station 1010 WINS. Smoke billowed from the carriage when the door opened, he added.
Five people were in critical condition but are expected to survive. A total of at least 29 were treated in hospitals for gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation and other conditions.
The shooting erupted on a train pulling into a station in the Sunset Park neighborhood, about a 15-minute drive from Manhattan and populated mostly by Hispanic and Asian communities.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the attack was not being investigated as terrorism but she “didn’t rule out anything”. The shooter’s motive was unknown.
Authorities gave officers a photo they believed showed the shooter and the Arizona license plate number of a U-Haul truck to look for, two law enforcement officers said. Officers were told to stop the truck and arrest all occupants immediately if they saw the truck. U-Haul said it makes sure authorities have all the information they need.
Investigators recovered a handgun at the scene along with several smoking devices and other items that they are analyzing, said officers, who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the suspect had at least two extended magazines.
Investigators believe the gun jammed, preventing the suspect from continuing to fire, officials said. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has completed an urgent search to identify the maker, seller and original owner of the gun.
The attack unsettled a city wary of a rise in gun violence and the ever-present threat of terrorism. It made some New Yorkers nervous about riding the nation’s busiest subway system and prompted officers to beef up policing at the Philadelphia-Connecticut transportation hubs.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced last fall that it had installed surveillance cameras at all 472 subway stations across the city and said they would bring criminals in a “fast lane to justice.” But the cameras at the station where the train arrived did not appear to be working, Mayor Eric Adams told WCBS-AM.
Video of a driver, captured through a closed door between subway cars, shows a person in a hooded sweatshirt raising an arm and pointing as five beats sound. In another video, smoke and people pour out of a subway car, some limping.
“Somebody call 911!” a human yells.
Other videos and photos from the scene show people tending to bloodied passengers lying on the platform – some amid what appear to be small pools of blood – and another person on the floor of a subway car.
Driver Juliana Fonda, a broadcast engineer at WNYC-FM, told her news site Gothamist that passengers from the car behind her started banging on the connecting door.
“There were a lot of loud bangs and there was smoke in the other car,” she said. “And people were trying to get in and they couldn’t, they were banging on the door trying to get into our car.”
As police searched for the shooter, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned New Yorkers to be vigilant.
“This person is still at large. This person is dangerous,” the Democrat said at a news conference just after noon. “This is an active shooter situation in the city of New York right now.”
Fire and police officials had responded to reports of an explosion, but Sewell said at the news conference there were no known explosive devices. Several smoking devices were found at the scene, said mayor spokesman Fabien Levy.
After people poured out of the train, quick-thinking transit workers guided passengers across the platform to another train for safety reasons, MTA systems chief Janno Lieber noted.
High school student John Butsikaris was riding the other train when he saw a conductor telling everyone to board. He thought it might be an everyday problem until he heard screams for medical help at the next stop and his train was evacuated.
“I’m definitely devastated,” the 15-year-old told The Associated Press. “Even though I didn’t see what happened, I’m still scared because it was only a few feet away from me what happened.”
According to their union, no transit worker was physically injured. In addition to gunshot wounds, the injured drivers were treated for smoke inhalation, shrapnel and panic.
In Menlo, Iowa, President Joe Biden “lauded the first responders who jumped into action, including civilians, civilians who didn’t hesitate to help their fellow passengers and tried to shield them.”
Adams, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, said in a video statement that the city “will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized, even by a single person.”
New York City has faced a spate of shootings and high-profile incidents in recent months, including on the city’s subways. One of the most shocking was in January when a woman was pushed to death by a stranger in front of a train.
Adams, a Democrat who is just over 100 days into his term, made tackling crime — particularly on the subways — a focus of his early tenure and promised to send more cops to regularly patrol train stations and platforms . It was not immediately clear if officers were already at the station when the shooting took place.
Danny Mastrogiorgio of Brooklyn had just dropped his son off at school when he saw a crowd of panicked passengers, some injured, run up the steps of the nearby 25th Street station. At least two had visible leg injuries, he said.
“It was crazy,” he told the AP. “Nobody knew exactly what was going on.”
Allan Lee was running his business, Café Nube, when a half-dozen police cars and fire engines suddenly rushed toward the block where the 36th Street station is located.
“Then they started ushering people who were on the block to the adjacent block and then blocked the subway entrance,” Lee told the AP. When he noticed bomb squads and dogs, he was sure it wasn’t an everyday subway problem.
Associated Press reporters Michael Balsamo in Washington and Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Deepti Hajela and Michelle L. Price in New York contributed to this report.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/04/12/source-nypd-locates-van-sought-in-brooklyn-shooting/ 5 shots, duds found at NYC train station