Frank James is to be sentenced for carrying out a shooting...

Frank James is to be sentenced for carrying out a shooting that wounded 10 passengers aboard the N train in Brooklyn in April 2022. Credit: NYPD

Subway gunman Frank James, whose rampage on a Brooklyn subway train early one morning in April 2022 wounded 10 passengers and spread fear throughout New York City, deserves to be sentenced to 10 concurrent life prison terms for his crimes, federal prosecutors said in a new court filing Wednesday.

“A sentence of life imprisonment is necessary to show the public that those who put countless lives in danger will be held accountable,” Assistant U.S. attorneys Sarah K. Winik and Ellen H. Sise said in their 28-page sentencing letter to the court in advance of James’ sentencing, currently scheduled for Sept. 28.

“In short, when the defendant fired dozens of rounds on a crowded subway during morning rush hour, he changed the lives of his victims and the citizens of this city. The sentence handed down by this Court should ensure that the defendant can never harm others again,” the letter said.

U.S. District Court Judge James F. Kuntz II will ultimately decide the appropriate sentence, despite a heavy guideline calculation that permits a life sentence. The prosecution memo to the court included pictures of the blood-spattered subway car and platform.

James, who is being held without bail, pleaded guilty to the April 12, 2022, shooting earlier this year in Brooklyn federal court. Witnesses and police said that James, an itinerant, angry loner who had lived in Philadelphia and the Midwest, positioned himself at the end of one car of a crowded N train and begin firing a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. James also set off a smoke bomb to apparently add to the confusion and obscure his identity, according to police.

Frank James is to be sentenced for carrying out a shooting...

Frank James is to be sentenced for carrying out a shooting that wounded 10 passengers aboard the N train in Brooklyn in April 2022. Credit: NYPD

James created a “kill funnel” into which he could shoot at passengers at the other end, and avoid the prospect that a nearby subway passenger would wrest the firearm away from him, prosecutors said in their court papers. James was also dressed in garb to make himself look like a construction or Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker by wearing a yellow hard hat and orange reflective jacket, according to investigators.

A total of 16 of the 32 bullets James fired hit 10 people, with five wounded seriously enough that they might have died had not first responders got them to prompt medical care, according to prosecutors.

“Additional victims were seriously injured from smoke inhalation and in the chaotic struggle to flee from the defendant’s gunshots,” explained prosecutors. “Multiple victims still suffer from ongoing physical and mental injuries due to the attack.”

James felt aggrieved and wrote that the human population had to be reduced, according to prosecutors. The letter said he wrote on social media about an "imminent attack" and carefully planned for it, making practice runs, and assembling weapons and ammunition to carry it out.

A footnote said that while James suffers from mental illness he hasn’t taken part in any therapy while in custody.

James fled the subway car and station and eventually was captured on April 13 outside an East Village fast food restaurant. He had called police to turn himself in and citizens, who had seen James’ surveillance photos widely displayed by the NYPD in the media, directed cops to the suspect.

The prosecution letter included a statement from one victim describing the attack, saying, "At first I thought it was fireworks. It seemed like they went on forever. People were screaming and crying for help, several people were saying there was so much blood, calling out for help … There was another round of the pop, pop, pops … The train stopped, I peeked out of my hoody [sic] praying that we were at the station but we were not, we were still in between the two stations. I prayed. I prayed that God would protect us. I prayed that this would end soon."

According to investigators, James left behind his cellphone, bank cards in his name, a bag full of fireworks soaked in gasoline, and a U-Haul key to a van he had rented the day before. Records from U-Haul, surveillance cameras, and cell site data confirmed that in the early hours of April 12, 2022, the defendant drove his rented U-Haul van from Philadelphia to Brooklyn to carry out the attack, court papers explained.

According to prosecutors, the nature of the shooting and the level of planning and preparation James had in carrying out the attack warrant a maximum of 10 life terms.

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