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(NEW YORK) – Brooklyn subway gunman suspect Frank James was arrested within 30 hours of the incident using a combination of field detective work, technology and possibly a tip of the fugitive himself, investigators said.
“We were able to shrink his world quickly. He had nowhere left to run,” New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Officers got their first lead shortly after the incident at the crime scene, the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where several eyewitnesses filmed and photographed James.
Police said the suspect also left behind key pieces of evidence that helped them track his movements before and after the incident – a 9mm Glock that was allegedly used in the shooting, his coat, a bag full of fireworks and James’ credit card.
James used the credit card to rent a U-Haul van that was discovered parked five miles southeast of the station, police said. Officers recovered the vehicle later that evening.
James legally purchased the gun in Ohio in 2011, according to the NYPD. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is currently reviewing data related to the firearm, according to the agency.
Cameras weren’t working inside the 36th Street subway station, but he was filmed entering the subway station near where the van was found, investigators said. He was also spotted at the 7th Avenue station in Park Slope, about three miles north of the crime scene, less than 30 minutes after the shooting, police said.
James fled the scene on an R train from the 36th Street station, police said.
As investigators continued to probe for clues, including James’ social media posts where he railed against New York City Mayor Eric Adams, police released his photo public Tuesday night and named James a “person of interest”.
“It’s had a critical effect on public awareness,” John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at Tuesday’s press conference.
A cellphone alert with James’ description was sent to New York residents at 10:21 a.m. Wednesday, just hours after police officially identified him as a suspect.
The NYPD said it received a Crime Stoppers tip hours later from some claiming James was at a McDonald’s on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The tipster may have been James himself, sources say.
“I think you are looking for me. I see my picture all over the news, and I’ll be at this McDonald’s,” one of the tipsters reportedly said, according to sources.
An NYPD official said police are reviewing the 911 call.
When officers responded to McDonald’s, James was nowhere to be found, so officers drove around the neighborhood, according to the NYPD.
At around 1:45 p.m., officers found James in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan and arrested him without incident, police say.
The FBI, ATF and other federal law enforcement agencies said they are still reviewing evidence and clues related to the shooting.
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Mark Crudele contributed to this report.
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