NEW YORK – At least five people were shot and injured Tuesday during a morning rush hour attack at a New York City subway station, leaving the wounded bleeding on the platform and police searching for the shooter.
Around 8:30 am, firefighters responded to smoke reports at the 36th Street station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood and found at least 13 people injured, although – aside from the five who were shot – no details were available about the nature of the injuries.
Preliminary information, according to multiple law enforcement sources briefed on the case, indicated that the suspect fled wearing a gas mask and construction vest.
Video and photos from the scene showed people tending to bloodied passengers lying on the floor of the station and smoke filling the air.
Police and fire officials investigated reports of an explosion, but police tweeted they found “no active explosive devices at this time.” Multiple smoke devices were found at the scene, said the mayor’s spokesperson Fabien Levy, who confirmed the initial shooting injury count.
A total of 11 people were being treated at two hospitals in the area.
“My subway door opened into calamity. It was smoke and blood and people screaming,” eyewitness Sam Carcamo told radio station 1010 WINS, saying he saw a gigantic billow of smoke pouring out of the N train once the door opened.
In a video taken by a bystander, people are seen lying on the subway platform near what appear to be small pools of blood, as a loudspeaker tells everyone on the smoke-hazy platform to get on the train. A person lay on the floor of a subway car, surrounded by others. Outside the station, a police officer yelled, “Let’s go! Get out of the way!”
The trains that serve that station experienced delays during morning rush hour.
The office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams was unable to provide more details. Adams was being briefed at the mayor’s residence on Tuesday morning.
The incident took place on a subway line that travels through south Brooklyn, a neighborhood situated approximately 15 minutes from Manhattan by train. There was a lockdown at local schools, including Sunset Park High School across the street.
Brooklyn’s Danny Mastrogiorgio had just dropped off his son at school when he saw a rush of passengers, including multiple wounded, running up the subway stairs at the 25th Street station in panic. He said at least two of the victims had visible leg injuries.
“It was insane,” he told The Associated Press. “No one knew exactly what was going on.”
Suddenly, a half-dozen police cars and fire trucks converged on the block as Allan Lee was running his business, Cafe Nube.
“After the block was cleared, people were ushered to the adjacent block, and the subway entrance near the cafe was closed,” he said. After noticing bomb squad officers and dogs, he knew it wasn’t an everyday subway problem.
In a statement, Governor Kathy Hochul said her office would work with the transit authority and police department as the investigation continues.
Additionally, President Joe Biden had been updated on the latest developments, and senior White House staff had been in contact with Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Officers canvassed 4th Avenue, the station’s crossroads, asking witnesses if anyone was on the train. There were emergency lights visible for at least a dozen blocks away, where a police cordon had been set up.
There have been a series of shootings and high-profile incidents in New York City in recent months, including on the subway. One of the most shocking incidents occurred in January when a woman was pushed in front of a train by a stranger.
Adams, a Democrat a little over 100 days into his term, has made cracking down on crime – especially on the subways – a priority of his administration. He pledged to send more police into stations and platforms for regular patrols. There was no immediate indication whether officers were already inside the station when the shooting occurred.