Jim Mustian, Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak and Michael Balsam

NEW YORK (AP) – A gunman in a gas mask and construction vest fired a smoke grenade and fired a barrage of bullets at a subway train at rush hour, shooting at least 10 people Tuesday, authorities said. Police were trying to find a tenant of the van who may have been involved in the violence.

Police Detective Chief James Esig said investigators are unsure whether 62-year-old Frank R. James had anything to do with the subway attack.

Authorities also viewed social media posts of someone of the same name mentioning homelessness, New York City and Mayor Eric Adams, leading officials to strengthen the mayor’s security measures, Esig and Police Commissioner Kitchent Sewell said. She said the posts were “concerned”.

The attack turned the subway into a horror scene: a smoky car with at least 33 rounds, police said. The frightened passengers ran out of the train, and the others, limping, got out of it. At least one rider collapsed on the platform.

“My subway door opened in trouble. It was smoke and blood, and people were screaming, ”said eyewitness Sam Karkam to 1010 WINS. The shooting erupted on a train that stopped at a station in the Sunset Park neighborhood, about a 15-minute drive from Manhattan and where mostly Spanish-speaking and Asian communities live.

Five people were in critical condition but expected to survive. According to hospitals, at least 29 people have been treated in hospitals for gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation and other diseases.

Sewell said the attack is not being investigated as terrorism, but she “excludes nothing.” The motive of the shooter was unknown.

Authorities found a 9mm semi-automatic pistol at the scene, as well as extended shops, an ax, exploded and unexploded smoke grenades, a black trash can, a cart, petrol and a U-Haul van key, Esig said.

He said the key led investigators to the tenant of the van, finding he had addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.

Officials said authorities had turned their attention to the person of interest after a credit card used to rent a van was found at the scene of the shooting.

The van was found empty elsewhere in Brooklyn.

Investigators believe the weapon jammed, preventing the suspect from continuing to fire, officials said. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has completed an urgent investigation to determine the manufacturer, seller and original owner of the weapon.

The attack upset the city, which was wary of rising violence with weapons and the constant threat of terrorism. This has caused some New Yorkers to worry about riding in the busiest subway system in the country and has prompted officials to step up police at transport hubs from Philadelphia to Connecticut.

The capital’s transport administration announced last fall that it had installed security cameras at all 472 metro stations across the city, saying they would put criminals on a “faster path to responsibility.” But at the station where the train came, the cameras apparently did not work.

MTA chief Jano Liber told TV interviewers he did not know why the cameras were not working. But he said police have “many different options” from cameras elsewhere on the subway line to see the shooter.

A video of a rider filmed through a closed door between subway cars shows a man in a hooded sweatshirt raising his hand and pointing to something when five blows are heard. In another video, people and some are limping from the subway car.

“Someone call 911!” The man shouts.

Other videos and photos from the scene show people caring for bloodied passengers lying on the platform – some among small puddles of blood – and another person on the floor of a subway car.

Rider Juliana Fonda, a broadcast engineer at WNYC-FM, told the Gothamist news site that passengers from a car behind her began knocking on the connecting door.

“There were a lot of loud tracks, and there was smoke in the other car,” she said. “And people tried to get in and couldn’t, they knocked on the door to get in our car.”

When police searched for the shooter, Gov. Katie Hochul warned New Yorkers about vigilance.

“This man is still at large. This man is dangerous, ”the Democrat said at a press conference immediately after lunch. “This is an active situation with shooters in New York.”

Firefighters and police responded to reports of the blast, but Sewell told a news conference that there were no explosive devices. Several smoke devices were found at the scene, Mayor’s spokesman Fabien Levy said.

After people got off the train, fast-paced transport workers transferred passengers to another train via a safety platform, said Liber, chairman of the MTA.

High school student John Boutique was riding on the second train when he saw a conductor urging everyone to sit down. He thought this might be a common problem until the next stop when he heard cries for medical help and his train was evacuated.

“I’m definitely shocked,” the 15-year-old told the Associated Press. “Although I didn’t see what happened, I’m still scared because what happened was a few feet away from me.”

According to the union, none of the transporters were injured.

In Menla, Iowa, President Joe Biden praised “the first responders to arrive in action, including civilians who did not hesitate to help their accompanying passengers and tried to protect them.”

Adams, who is isolated after a positive test on COVID-19 on Sunday, said in a video statement that the city “will not allow New Yorkers to terrorize even one person.”

In recent months, New York City has faced numerous shootings and high-profile bloodshed, including in the city subway. One of the most shocking was in January, when a woman was pushed to death in front of a train by a stranger.

Adams, a Democrat just over 100 days old, has cracked down on crime – especially in the subway – in the spotlight of his early administration, promising to send more police officers to stations and platforms for regular patrols. It was not immediately clear whether the officers were at the station when the shooting occurred.

Danny Mastrogiorgio of Brooklyn had just dropped his son off at school when he saw passengers running down the stairs at 25th Street Station, some of them injured. At least two had visible leg injuries, he said.

“It was crazy,” he told the AP. “No one knew exactly what was going on.”

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Balsam reported from Washington. Associated Press authors Karen Matthews, Julie Walker, Dipty Hajela, Michelle L. Price, and David Porter of New York contributed to this report.

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