Accused NYC subway shooter pleads not guilty to terrorism and weapons charges

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James sits in a courtroom sketch during a court hearing in New York City, U.S., April 14, 2022.REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

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By Luc Cohen and Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A man pleaded not guilty to terrorism and weapons charges in Brooklyn federal court on Friday over a mass shooting on the New York subway last month that is part of the city’s transit system history. One of the most violent attacks ever.

Frank James, 62, is charged with the April 12 shooting and smoke grenade attack that wounded 23 people. Dressed in a khaki prison uniform, he pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Kuntz.

James’ attorney, Mia Eisner-Grynberg of the Federal Defenders of New York, did not seek bail for her client and declined to comment after the guilty plea.

At the time of the attack, 10 people were shot and an N train bound for Manhattan pulled into the 36th Street station near Sunset Park in Brooklyn during the morning commute. Thirteen other people were injured when they fled the train hastily. No one was killed.

The incident sparked a round-the-clock manhunt that culminated in James’ arrest about 30 hours later. After his arrest, Eisner-Greenberg said James saw his picture on the news and called the NYPD whistleblower hotline to turn himself in.

The motive for the attack remains unclear. Police say James, who is a Bronx native who recently lived in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, posted a video on YouTube before the attack in which he addressed New York City Mayor Eric Adams and complained about subway cars There are homeless people.

The attack follows a string of violent crimes on the nation’s largest metropolitan transportation system, including incidents in which commuters were pushed from station platforms onto subway tracks.

James could face life in prison if convicted of committing a terrorist attack on the public transport system and shooting during a violent crime.

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