At least 16 people were injured, 10 of them by gunshots, on the Brooklyn subway during the rush Tuesday morning, authorities said, after a man released a smoke canister and opened fire on an N.
The search for the gunman was hampered Tuesday afternoon by the fact that none of the security cameras inside the subway station that could have captured the scene were operational, according to a senior police official briefed on the investigation.
Around 8:24 a.m., as the train pulled into the 36th Street station in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the man, wearing a construction vest, put on a gas mask before firing shots that hit people on the train and the nearby platform. said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell.
The shooting sparked panic and chaos aboard the train and came as authorities tried to lure passengers back onto a public transport system hit by the pandemic.
As the train doors opened, sending smoke through the station, passengers fled in fear, many of them rushing to board an R train that was stopped on the other side of the platform. Subway seats and cars were stained with blood as people called for help.
The gunman escaped, police officials said. As of Tuesday afternoon, he had not yet been publicly identified and remained at large, although a senior police official said a gun had been found inside the subway station.
Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, declined Tuesday to reveal more about the search for the gunman. “This is a very sensitive time,” Adams said. “We want to continue to keep those tips close to our vest to make sure we’re not informing the person we’re trying to locate.”
The violence put New York City on a heightened state of alert at a time when residents are already anxious about crime and the city’s ongoing struggle to recover from the pandemic.
Police officers were called at 8:30 a.m. to the 36th Street Station, where the D, N, and R all lines are stopped, after receiving reports of smoke and gunshots. The Fire Department said five people were in critical condition, but none of them were believed to have sustained life-threatening injuries.
John Butsikares, 15, a freshman at Brooklyn Technical High School, said his ride on a northbound R train from Bay Ridge had been uneventful, until the train approached the 36th Street station. When the doors opened, the driver ordered the passengers waiting on the platform to run inside.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “There was just panic.”
At a news conference, Commissioner Sewell said police were looking for a heavily built man wearing a green construction vest and gray sweatshirt. In a separate interview on CNN, Mayor Eric Adams said officials did not yet know the identity of the shooter.
Gov. Kathy Hochul advised New Yorkers to remain “vigilant and alert,” saying “this is an active shooter situation right now in New York City.”
Videos posted on social media showed frightened passengers exiting a train and climbing onto the platform as smoke filled the station. Commissioner Sewell said no active explosive devices had been found at the scene or in the subway trains.
“This is not being investigated as an act of terrorism at this time,” he said, adding that officers had not identified a motive.
Patrick Berry, 41, said he was waiting at the 25th Street station, one stop north, when an R train arrived around 8:30 a.m. He and his 3-year-old daughter boarded, but the train did not leave. moved.
“Then all of a sudden, from the front of the train, I heard people yelling, ‘Run, run, run! Go! Go! Go!’ And then all these people ran past our car, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is a stampede,'” Berry said. “People started pushing from behind. So I grabbed my daughter and we ran too.”
Towards the front of the train, bystanders tended to three victims. A uniformed police officer approached and asked the passengers to call 911 because his radio was not working. One teenager, who identified himself as Fitim, had a hole in his sweatpants that he said came from a bullet.
The area around the 36th Street station was surrounded by investigators and cordoned off. On Fourth Avenue, near 35th Street, dozens of police vehicles with flashing lights stretched for at least four blocks.
Officers blocked traffic as residents huddled in small groups on the sidewalk, seeking shelter from the rain. At least two helicopters flew over the place.
“We saw an ambulance come out with a stretcher with a person,” said Silvana Guerrero, 20, who works at the nearby Sunset Bagels Cafe & Grill. “Her leg of hers was injured, I’m not sure exactly what happened or what was going on. And then, we saw after that, two ambulances coming out, with two people, kind of jumping on one leg.”
President Biden had been briefed on the shooting, authorities said. Mr Adams, who tested positive for covid-19 on Sunday and is currently in isolation, has also been monitoring the situation.
“We will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized, not even by a single individual,” Mr. Adams said in a video message. “The NYPD is looking for the suspect and we will find him.”
Eight people with injuries from the shooting were being treated at New York University Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, a hospital system spokeswoman, Lisa Greiner, said. His injuries included gunshot wounds and smoke inhalation; all eight were in stable condition.
Suzanne Tammaro, a spokeswoman for Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said five people were being treated there, two of them with gunshot wounds. NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital said it was treating three patients injured in the shooting.
But New York has faced a series of shootings in recent days that have highlighted the challenges in stemming the rise in violent crime that is taking place in cities across the country.
“No more mass shootings. No more disturbing lives. No more heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers,” Ms. Hochul said Tuesday. “It has to end, it ends now.”
The report was contributed by Jonah E. Bromwich, Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Joseph Goldstein, andres hideraker, Sadef Ali Kully, ana law, Andy Newman, chelsia rose marcio Y William K. Rashbaum.