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Press Release

Frank James Sentenced to Life In Prison for Subway Mass Shooting

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Fired 32 Rounds, Wounding 10 Defenseless Victims Before His Gun Jammed on a Crowded N Train Subway Car in Brooklyn

Frank James was sentenced today by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz, II to 10 concurrent life sentences in prison, plus 10 years to run consecutively for shooting 10 people during an attack on the New York City subway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on April 12, 2022.  James previously pleaded guilty to all 11 counts of a superseding indictment, which included 10 counts of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation vehicle—one count for each gunshot victim—and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of his violent attack.

Merrick B. Garland, United States Attorney General, Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Matthew G. Olsen, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.

“Today’s life sentence delivered the necessary penalty for Frank James, who callously carried out a mass shooting on a crowded subway car, attempting to kill innocent people, and spilling much blood.  He wounded 10 victims in his calculated attack and terrorized many more,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “I hope that this sentence brings some closure to the many victims of this violent attack and comfort to the city at large in knowing that justice was done.”

Mr. Peace praised the exceptional efforts of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force for the investigation and speedy apprehension of the defendant.  He also extended his appreciation to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for their assistance.

“Today, Frank James was rightfully sentenced for his deliberate and calculated act of terror against our city.  He aimed to kill innocent people, who were simply going about their daily lives amid the morning rush. It is because of the dogged determination and vigilance of the investigators of the FBI New York’s Joint Terrorism Task force that James was brought to justice and is facing the consequences he rightfully deserves,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.  

“Today’s outcome hopefully brings solace to the many victims of Mr. James, who carried out a horrifying act of terrorism in a cold, calculated, premeditated manner,” stated NYPD Commissioner Caban.  “From the moment Mr. James committed this appalling crime, we and our law enforcement partners shrank his world until he had nowhere to turn – and the people of New York City worked alongside us. In addition to our colleagues at the FBI, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, I thank and commend New Yorkers for their vigilance in helping bring this unseemly episode to a just conclusion.” 

During rush hour on the morning of April 12, 2022, James used a Glock 17 pistol he legally purchased to conduct a mass shooting on an N subway train in Brooklyn.  James planned his act of terror for years—purchasing smoke bombs, disguises, firearms, and ammunition.  He scouted the location for his attack and completed multiple practice runs.  As part of his attack, James, disguised in an orange reflective jacket and yellow hard hat to look like an MTA employee, set off a smoke-bomb in a subway car before opening fire on his captive victims.  Panicked passengers ran to the far end of the subway car, allowing James to shoot at his victims more easily.  When the defendant started shooting, the train was between stations and then temporarily stalled, leaving victims trapped. In total, the defendant fired at least 32 bullets and 10 victims were struck by his gunfire.  Dozens more suffered from smoke inhalation and other mental and physical injuries due to the defendant’s attack.  James then fled the scene of the attack, changing his clothing frequently to evade detection while law enforcement engaged in a 36-hour manhunt to find him and bring him to justice.    

At some point after the shooting, James purchased a burner phone which he used to follow the coverage of his attack while hiding from law enforcement. For example, James watched 31 videos of news reports about his subway shooting. He also watched a James Bond chase scene from the movie “No Time to Die” 10 times after the attack. Finally, James turned himself in by calling the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline on April 13, 2022, the day after the mass shooting.  

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara K. Winik and Ellen H. Sise are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Magdalena St. Surin and the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

The Defendant:

Age:  64
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-214 (WFK)


John Marzulli                                         
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated October 5, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Domestic Terrorism
National Security
Violent Crime