A gunman wearing a gas mask unleashed mayhem on the New York subway today, filling a crowded carriage with thick black smoke before opening fire on defenseless passengers, injuring more than 20.
The shooter, who entered the train disguised as a construction worker, fled the scene and is the subject of a huge police manhunt.
According to witnesses the gunman entered the train shortly before 8.30am, and was muttering to himself before commencing his attack apparently unprovoked by anything that had occurred since boarding.
A 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a hatchet, and smoke grenades were left at the scene by the attacker, along with a key to a U-Haul van. Officers have located the vehicle and it is being inspected by explosives experts.
Ten passengers suffered gunshot wounds, with other passengers injured by smoke inhalation and some hurt in their attempts to escape the attack. Surprisingly considering the nature of the attack nobody has been killed, and none of the injured are reported to be in a life-threatening condition.
Good fortune definitely seems to have played a role in the lack of casualties, with witnesses reporting that the shooter’s gun jammed in the middle of his frenzy.
“It was lucky that it jammed because we could be talking about a lot more people in hospitals or worse,” a source working at the scene told journalists.
Law enforcement has identified Frank James, 62, as a person of interest in connection with the shooting. At present authorities have not disclosed whether they believe James to be the gunman, but have confirmed he is the person that rented the U-Haul van connected with the attack.
James has yet to be apprehended, and a $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his capture.
Joe Biden spoke about the attack during a visit to Iowa, stating his administration’s determination to catch those responsible.
“We’re not letting up until we find the perpetrator,” the president said, also thanking those who provided assistance at the scene.
Biden added that he and the first lady were “praying for all those touched by this trauma”.