Man with Wisconsin ties sentenced to life in prison for NYC subway shooting

Shooter Frank James previously lived in Milwaukee

New York City Police Department personnel gather at the entrance to a subway stop in the Brooklyn
New York City Police Department personnel gather at the entrance to a subway stop in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Multiple people were shot and injured Tuesday at a subway station in New York City during a morning rush hour attack that left wounded commuters bleeding on a train platform. John Minchillo/AP Photo

A man with Milwaukee ties who shot 10 people on a Brooklyn subway car last year was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.

Frank James disguised himself as a transportation employee, wearing an orange reflective jacket and yellow hard hat on April 12, 2022. He then set off a smoke bomb on a subway car before he started to shoot at people with a pistol.

The 64-year-old fired more than 30 rounds during the attack, injuring 10 people. Several other people in the subway car also suffered from smoke inhalation. Following a 36-hour manhunt, James was arrested by police after he turned himself in.

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James was sentenced Thursday to 10 concurrent life sentences in prison, as well as an additional 10 years to run consecutively for shooting the 10 people. James pleaded guilty to those charges earlier this year.

“We can only imagine the terror that the passengers in that car experienced that morning,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said during a press conference. “Today, Frank James was justly held accountable.”

James had previously lived in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood and was described by one neighbor as being “mild-mannered.” Others described him as being courteous, grumpy and quiet.

He spent years planning his attack, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. He scouted the location for the attack and also completed “multiple practice runs.”

Peace said the incident spread fear throughout New York City, leading many residents to think twice before taking the subway.

James “terrorized the city at large,” Peace said.

James, who is Black, posted dozens of videos online under the moniker “Prophet of Doom,” before the shooting, according to a report from WHYY. In those videos, he ranted about race, violence, his struggles with mental illness and a host of unnamed forces he claimed were out to get him.

After the incident, he purchased a burner phone which he used to watch 31 news reports about the incident.