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Video Rants May Offer Clues to NYC Subway Shooter's Motives

Frank James posted dozens of videos ranting about race, violence and his struggles with mental illness. One stands out for its relative calm: A silent shot of a packed New York City subway car in which he raises his finger to point out passengers, one by one, the Associated Press reports. As police arrested James on Wednesday in the Brooklyn subway shooting that wounded 10 people, they were still searching for a motive from a flood of details about the 62-year-old Black man’s life, which included an erratic work history, arrests for a string of mostly low-level crimes, a storage locker with more ammo., and hours of rambling, bigoted, profanity-laced videos on his YouTube channel that point to a deep, simmering anger. After a 30-hour manhunt, James was arrested without incident after a tipster — thought by police to be James himself — said he could be found near a McDonald’s on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.


A prime trove of evidence, they said, are his YouTube videos. James seems to have opinions about nearly everything — racism in America, New York City’s new mayor, the state of mental health services, 9/11, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Black women. A federal criminal complaint cited a video in which James ranted about too many homeless people on the subway and put the blame on New York City’s mayor. “What are you doing, brother?” he said in the video posted March 27. “Every car I went to was loaded with homeless people. It was so bad, I couldn’t even stand.” ​​Investigators said James had 12 prior arrests in New York and New Jersey from 1990 to 2007, including for possession of burglary tools, a criminal sex act, trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct. James had no felony convictions and was not prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm. Police said the gun used in the attack was legally purchased at an Ohio pawn shop in 2011.

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