(NEW YORK) — At least five people were shot and injured Tuesday at a New York City subway station during a morning rush hour attack that left wounded commuters bleeding on a train platform and police searching for the shooter.
Fire personnel responding to reports of smoke at the 36th Street station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood at around 8:30 a.m. found at least 13 people were hurt, but — aside from the five shot — there were no details on what those injuries entailed.
Multiple law enforcement sources who were briefed about the investigation said that preliminary information suggested the fledgling suspect was wearing a gas mask and a construction vest.
The scene was captured on video and photos. It showed bloodied victims lying on the ground of the station, and smoke filling the air. Fire and police officials were investigating reports that there had been an explosion, but the police department tweeted that there were “no active explosive devices at this time.” Multiple smoke devices were found on the scene, said mayoral spokesperson Fabien Levy, who confirmed the initial shooting injury count.
Two local hospitals were treating at least eleven patients.
“My subway door opened into calamity. It was smoke and blood and people screaming,” eyewitness Sam Carcamo told radio station 1010 WINS, saying he saw a gigantic billow of smoke pouring out of the N train once the door opened.
Bystanders captured the scene from the subway platform. They were surrounded by small pools of blood as an announcement urged everyone to board the train. One person lay down on the subway train, being surrounded by others. Outside the station, a police officer yelled, “Let’s go! Get out of the way!”
During the morning rush hour, trains to this station were delayed.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office did not immediately have more details. Adams was at the mayor’s residence Tuesday morning and was being briefed.
This happened in south Brooklyn on the subway, which runs about a fifteen-minute ride from Manhattan. Schools across the street were also affected, including Sunset Park High School.
Danny Mastrogiorgio from Brooklyn was dropping his son off at school and saw an avalanche of people, including multiple injured, rush up the 25th Street Station subway stairway in panic. He said that at least two of them had leg injuries.
“It was insane,” he told The Associated Press. “No one knew exactly what was going on.”
Allan Lee was operating Cafe Nube when half-dozen fire and police vehicles suddenly appeared on his block.
“Then they started ushering people that were on the block to the adjacent block and then closed off the subway entrance” near the cafe’s door, he told the AP. He was sure it wasn’t an everyday problem because he saw bomb squad dogs and officers.
Gov. Kathy Hochul indicated that she was informed about the current situation. White House officials were also informed about developments. President Joe Biden and senior White House staffers reached out to Adams and Commissioner Keechant Swell of the NYPD.
Police officers were canvassing 4th Avenue, the station’s cross-street, asking witnesses whether they were on the train. From at least 12 blocks away, a sea of emergency lights could be seen. A police cordon was also set up.
The shootings come as New York City has faced a spate a shootings and high-profile incidents in recent months, including on the city’s subways. The most disturbing incident occurred in January, when a man pushed a woman to the ground in front of a train.
Adams, a Democrat a little over 100 days into his term, has made cracking down on crime — especially on the subways — a focus of his early administration, pledging to send more police officers into stations and platforms for regular patrols. It wasn’t immediately clear whether officers had already been inside the station when the shootings occurred.
Report by Associated Press reporter Michael Balsamo (Washington) and Michelle L. Price, Jennifer Peltz, and Jim Mustian (New York).
Read More From Time