Sunset Park Residents on Edge After Brooklyn Subway Shooting
25-year-old lejandro Quintanos was not quite recovered from the horrific shooting attack at New York City’s train station that saw at least 23 people killed.
Quintanos is a Sunset Park resident who told TIME on Tuesday that he was in a deli just a block from the 36th St. station when commuters began to run out of the station. Seeing smoke, he initially believed there was a fire—though he soon learned what the rest of the city and world did: that a gunman had thrown several smoke grenades onto a crowded train and opened fire.
Quintanos is an area grocery-store clerk but he uses it regularly. “I could have been in that station,” he said.
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Quintanos observed the scene surrounding the subway station chaos for several hours, even though it was over an hour after the violence.
According to data from 2020, Sunset Park is home to a large Hispanic and Asian population. As such, it tends to experience less crime than other boroughs and cities. Police officers in bulletproof vests, along with other law enforcement officials, were seen walking the streets on Tuesday. Numerous corners were served by NYPD vans. Reporters and media vans waited near the station for information from officials about the state of the gunman’s investigation.
On April 12, 2022, law enforcement officers were on the scene at the 36th Street Subway Station in Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg via Getty Images
Through the day, information trickled in. According to reports, the suspect was wearing an orange construction vest and gas mask. He also had construction gear, including a backpack. Officials say that 10 people were wounded, with seven of them being males and three girls. According to officials, 13 other people sustained injuries due to the incident. These included smoke inhalation or falling down.
“None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening,” NYPD police commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a Tuesday evening press conference. “We know this incident is of grave concern to New Yorkers. This city is not safe. We will use every resource we can to bring those to justice who continue to prey on the citizens of New York.”
Sewell explained that while authorities identified the person who was involved in the violence and found an empty van thought to have been driven there by this person, they are still looking for the shooter.
On Tuesday, even as that continuing search dominated the thoughts of many in the neighborhood, locals who spoke to TIME—while shaken by the news and eager for more information—displayed a composure befitting stereotypes about unflappable New Yorkers.
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Tory Cooper (33) had just passed by the 36th St. station at around 7am, and was now returning home from Sunset Park, where he’d worked his night security shift. A barrage of messages and phone calls came from his family, who’d seen the news. “It was crazy because you always think about something like this happening,” he said, sitting on his stoop later in the day, seeming to monitor his block. “But you never think it’ll actually happen.” From his home, the commotion of the scene could still be heard in the distance.
Cooper expressed concern about the gunman not yet being found—and what the potential impacts of the search might be for locals—and said he expects the police to ramp up their presence at various train stations as a response to the incident. But his attitude toward the day’s events was a relatively serene one.
“They’ll get him,” he said, of the suspect. “It’s only a matter of time.”
Multiple people were shot outside of the 36th St. police station. Emergency services and police are present at the scene. Subway Station, Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, New York City, April 12, 2022
Pablo Monsalve—VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images
Melanie Diggs (38), a local resident, couldn’t believe that the gunman hadn’t been captured immediately. “I just don’t understand how he got away. You always see police officers walking in the stations,” she said.
She was alert but confident it would be a matterof time.
“I’m a little concerned that they haven’t found him, but they should catch him,” she said. “Where could he have gone?”
The city’s mayor appeared to feel the same way—while acknowledging that the problem of gun violence would still loom, no matter when and whether the suspect was caught.
“This is not only a New York City problem. This rage, this violence, these guns, these relentless shooters are an American problem,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It is going to take all levels of government to solve it.”
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