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Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James makes his first court appearance

Frank James, the suspect from Tuesday's attack on a Brooklyn subway station, made his first appearance in court on Thursday.
John Minchillo
/
AP
Frank James, the suspect from Tuesday's attack on a Brooklyn subway station, made his first appearance in court on Thursday.

Updated April 14, 2022 at 3:10 PM ET

Frank James, the suspect arrested in the Brooklyn subway attack, made his first court appearance on Thursday.

James, 62, will be held without bail after arraignment on federal charges of conducting a violent attack against a mass transportation system. His lawyers have requested that he be given a psychiatric evaluation. They also requested magnesium pills for cramps he experiences in his legs.

James' court-appointed lawyers accepted the detention order, but asked that bail be made available at a later date if possible.

Prosecutors said that James "terrifyingly" fired on passengers in the subway.

"The defendant's attack was premeditated, was carefully planned, and it caused terror among the victims and our entire city," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Winik told the court.

James made no remarks during his in-person court appearance, except to acknowledge that he understood the charges against him. If found guilty, he faces life in prison.

Law enforcement officials arrested James on Wednesday. His alleged attack on the subway system Tuesday left 10 people shot. No one died in the attack, but at least 13 additional people were injured in the rampage.

The hunt for James lasted for about a day until police said they received a tip that James was in a McDonald's at Sixth Street and First Avenue in the East Village in Manhattan.

The tip, it was later revealed, came from James himself, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities are still investigating the motive in James' attack. But videos posted by James on YouTube revealed sexist and racist comments, and references to causing violence, as well as several mentions of his own struggle with mental illness.

James has been arrested 12 times before, investigators said, including for possession of burglary tools, criminal sex act, trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct. He was never charged with a felony and was not prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

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Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.