Brooklyn subway shooting: Timeline of terror attack, events leading up to it and capture of Frank James

Accused Brooklyn subway mass shooter Frank James allegedly traveled across multiple states with a trove of weapons before carrying out Tuesday’s terrorist attack, according to authorities.

The Independent has pieced together a timeline of the events based on the criminal complaint against him, law enforcement statements, surveillance footage, eyewitness accounts and Mr James’ now-removed YouTube channel.

20 March: Mr James left his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and began the journey to Philadelphia in a rental van.

He chronicled his journey on his now-removed YouTube channel.

In one video, he said he had stopped for the night in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and planned to stop near Pittsburgh then Harrisburg in Pennsylvania before reaching Philadelphia.

28 March: Mr James rented a two-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia through vacation rental website Evolve.

I have rented the apartment for 15 days. On Wednesday, investigators found an empty magazine for a Glock handgun, a taser, a high-capacity rifle magazine and a blue smoke cannister left behind at the property by the suspect.

Lyft records reveal that Mr James ordered rides to or from the apartment around 21 times between 28 March and 10 April.

Suspect Frank James seen leaving 25 Street station on left and his ID on right

(USAO Eastern District of New York)

April 6: Mr James reserved and paid in advance to rent a white Chevrolet U-Haul from Philadelphia. The vehicle was rented under his own name and he provided his own phone number, date of birth and his Wisconsin driver’s license. In the booking, he said his preferred method of contact was by text message.

April 11: Mr James then collected the rental at 2.03pm on the afternoon of 11 April.

At 6.17pm that evening, Mr James visited a storage facility in Philadelphia, according to Lyft records.

Investigators have since found ammunition and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle among the possessions beign stored there.

The U-Haul vehicle was then driven across state lines from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and then to New York.

12 April: Day of the attack

4.11am – Surveillance footage captured the U-Haul van driving over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn – just four hours before the attack.

6.12am – Suspect captured on surveillance camera dressed in orange construction vest, yellow hard hat walking leaving van by foot and walking along West 7th Street and Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

Crowds surround law enforcement investigating a subway attack in Brooklyn on 12 April


He is seen wheeling a rolling bag in his left hand and carrying a backpack in his right hand.

8.26am – Gunman dons a gas mask and throws a gas canister inside a subway carriage on an N train traveling northbound as it travels toward 36 Street station in Sunset Park.

8.40am – Following the attack, suspect joins panicked riders fleeing the scene on an R train to 25 Street. He is seen on surveillance footage leaving the subway system at that station at around 8.40am.

9.15am – Suspect is captured on surveillance footage entering a subway station at Prospect Park.

late afternoon – Police locate the U-Haul van parked close to Kings Highway in Brooklyn following a tip-off from a member of the public.

The NYPD names Mr James a person of interest in the shooting.

April 13: Mr James is upgraded to the sole suspect in shooting.

New Yorkers send in tips to NYPD’s CrimeStoppers.

Mr James calls CrimeStoppers and tells police he is at a McDonald’s in the East Village of Manhattan.

Officers arrive on the scene to find Mr James gone but he is apprehended close by at 1.42pm along St. Mark’s and First Avenue.

He is questioned at the 9th Precinct before being transferred into federal custody. He is charged with staging a terrorist attack on mass transit.

April 14: Mr James appears in Brooklyn federal court for the first time where he was held without bond and ordered to remain in custody until his trial.

His attorney requested he undergo a psychiatric exam.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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