Frank James, the man responsible for a mass shooting on a New York City subway train, has been sentenced to life in prison. The shooting occurred on April 12, 2022, during rush hour, leaving ten people wounded. James, 64, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges earlier this year and received a life sentence on ten counts, as well as ten years for discharging a firearm during an act of violence.
During the sentencing, several victims tearfully and angrily recounted their ongoing trauma. One victim expressed his inability to make sense of the incident, while another spoke of his post-traumatic stress disorder and thoughts of suicide. A third victim, who initially spoke of forgiveness, broke down in tears and left the courtroom.
In his address to the court, James expressed remorse for his actions but criticized the country’s mental health system, claiming it had failed people of color like him. However, U.S. District Court Judge William Kuntz dismissed James’ claims, stating that his actions were “pure evil.”
Prosecutors had requested a life sentence, arguing that James had carefully planned the shooting to cause maximum damage. James’ defense attorneys had asked for a reduced sentence of 18 years, citing his mental illness and the absence of intent to kill.
Disguised as a construction worker, James waited until the train was between stations before igniting smoke bombs and firing multiple rounds from a 9 mm handgun. The attack occurred in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and wounded victims ranging in age from 16 to 60.
Following the shooting, James calmly left the subway station and evaded authorities for over a day. He was eventually arrested in Manhattan’s East Village after calling a police tip line to turn himself in.
The subway shooting shocked New Yorkers and raised concerns about safety in the transit system. As a result, additional surveillance cameras and police presence were implemented on trains.
Before the shooting, James had posted numerous videos online under the name “Prophet of Doom,” discussing race, violence, mental illness, and perceived threats against him. Prosecutors alleged that James had been planning the subway shooting for some time.
In his guilty plea, James claimed he intended to cause serious bodily injury rather than death. However, prosecutors argued that the trajectory of the bullets indicated his aim was to maximize lethality.
James has been held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center for the past 17 months.