NEW YORK (AP) — A gunman in a construction vest donned a gas mask, set off a smoke canister on a rush-hour subway train and shot at least 10 people Tuesday morning, authorities said. The shooter was at large and described as dangerous after leaving wounded commuters bleeding on a Brooklyn platform while others ran screaming.
Five people were in critical but condition but expected to survive. At least 16 in all were injured in some way in the attack that began on a subway train that pulled into the 36th Street station in the borough’s Sunset Park neighborhood.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the attack was not being investigated as terrorism, but that she was “not ruling out anything.” The shooter has not been identified and the motive remains unknown.
“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.
The attack unnerved a city on guard a bout a rise in gun violence and the ever-present threat of terrorism. It left some New Yorkers jittery about riding the nation’s busiest subway system and prompted officials to increase policing at transportation hubs from Philadelphia to Connecticut.
One rider’s video, shot through a closed door between subway cars, shows a person in a hooded sweatshirt raising an arm and pointing at something — possibly the door to a conductor’s booth — as five bangs sound. In another video, smoke and people pour out of a subway car and wails erupt as passengers run for an exit while a few others limp off the train. One falls to the platform, and a person hollers, “Someone call 911!”
Other video and photos from the scene show people tending to bloodied passengers lying on the platform, some amid what appear to be small puddles of blood, and another person on the floor of a subway car.
Juliana Fonda, a broadcast engineer at WNYC-FM, told its news site Gothamist she was riding the train when passengers from the car behind hers started banging on the door between them.
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“There was a lot of loud pops, and there was smoke in the other car,” she said. “And people were trying to get in and they couldn’t, they were pounding on the door to get into our car.”
As police searched for the shooter, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned New Yorkers to be vigilant.“This individual is still on the loose. This person is dangerous,” the Democrat said at news conference.
“This is an active shooter situation right now in the city of New York.”
“We say: No more. No more mass shootings. No more disrupting lives. No more creating heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “It has to end.”