NEW YORK (AP) — A gunman filled a rush-hour subway train with smokeand shot multiple people Tuesday, leaving wounded commuters bleeding on aBrooklyn platform as others ran screaming, authorities said. Policewere still searching for the shooter.
Officials said the gunfirewounded at least eight people, and at least 16 in all were injured insome way in the attack at the 36th Street station in the borough’sSunset Park neighborhood.
A train rider’s video shows smoke andpeople pouring out of a subway car. Wails erupt as passengers run for anexit as a few others limp off the train. One falls to the platform, anda person hollers, “Someone call 911!” In other video and photos fromthe scene, people tend to bloodied passengers lying on the platform,some amid what appear to be small puddles of blood, and another personis on the floor of a subway car.
“My subway door opened intocalamity. It was smoke and blood and people screaming,” eyewitness SamCarcamo told radio station 1010 WINS, saying he saw a gigantic billow ofsmoke pouring out of the N train once the door opened.
Accordingto multiple law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation,preliminary information indicated that the gunman who fled was wearing aconstruction vest and a gas mask.
Investigators believe thegunman deployed a smoke device before opening fire, one of the lawenforcement officials said. Investigators are examining whether he mayhave used that device in an effort to distract people before shooting,the official said.
Fire and police officials were investigatingreports that there had been an explosion, but the police departmenttweeted that there were “no active explosive devices at this time.”Multiple smoke devices were found on the scene, said mayoralspokesperson Fabien Levy, who confirmed the initial shooting injurycount.
At least 11 people were being treated at two localhospitals. No MTA workers were physically hurt, according to a statementfrom the Transport Workers Union Local 100.
Juliana Fonda, abroadcast engineer at WNYC-FM, told its news site Gothamist she wasriding the train when passengers from the car behind hers startedbanging on the door between them.
“There was a lot of loud pops,and there was smoke in the other car,” she said. “And people were tryingto get in and they couldn’t, they were pounding on the door to get intoour car.”
President Joe Biden and Attorney General MerrickGarland were briefed on the incident, as was Gov. Kathy Hochul. New YorkCity Mayor Eric Adams, who is isolating following a positive COVID-19test on Sunday, was briefed at the mayor’s residence.
The incidenthappened on a subway line that runs through south Brooklyn in aneighborhood — predominantly home to Hispanic and Asian communities —about a 15-minute train ride to Manhattan. Local schools, includingSunset Park High School across the street, were locked down.
DannyMastrogiorgio of Brooklyn had just dropped his son off at school whenhe saw a crush of passengers, some of them wounded, running up thesubway stairway at the nearby 25th Street station in panic. At least twohad visible leg injuries, he said.
“It was insane,” he told The Associated Press. “No one knew exactly what was going on.”
AllanLee was running his business, Cafe Nube, when a half-dozen police carsand fire vehicles suddenly converged on the block that contains the 36thStreet station.
“Then they started ushering people that were onthe block to the adjacent block and then closed off the subway entrance”near the cafe’s door, he told the AP. When he noticed bomb squadofficers and dogs, he was certain it was no everyday subway problem.
A sea of emergency lights was visible from at least a dozen blocks away, where a police cordon was set up.
NewYork City has faced a spate a shootings and high-profile incidents inrecent months, including on the city’s subways. One of the most shockingwas in January when a woman was pushed to her death in front of a trainby a stranger.
Adams, a Democrat a little over 100 days into histerm, has made cracking down on crime — especially on the subways — afocus of his early administration, pledging to send more police officersinto stations and platforms for regular patrols. It wasn’t immediatelyclear whether officers had already been inside the station when theshootings occurred.
Associated Press reporters Michael Balsamo in Washington and Michelle L. Price and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.
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