NYC subway riders fear danger on trains after Brooklyn station attack
13th April 2022

‘It’s getting scarier every day’: Rattled NYC commuters say they fear getting on the subway in the wake of Brooklyn shooting that left 29 injured and as transit system crime soars almost 50%

  • Mother-of-one Taina Arroyo, 39, said she’s more ‘terrified’ and ‘scared’ than ever to take the subway 
  • Another commuter wants to see more cops in subway stations after Tuesday’s shooting at 36th Street station in Brooklyn that left 10 wounded and 13 injured 
  • There have been have been nearly 500 major crimes reported underground this year, 224 more than the year before
  • January saw the biggest increase, nearly doubling from the year before, with 198 crimes reported compared to 113 in the first month last year

New York straphangers shaken by Tuesday morning’s mass shooting at a Brooklyn subway station said they feared riding the train again as crime in the transit system continues to soar despite Mayor Eric Adams’ vow to restore law and order. 

Taina Arroyo, 39, was on her way to go see her son play at a baseball game at Union Square station in Manhattan on Tuesday evening when she told that she is more ‘scared’ and ‘terrified’ than ever to commute to work from her home near the Brooklyn Bridge. 

‘I have pepper-spray on me at all times now,’ Arroyo said. ‘I also have a self-defense kit.’  

Arroyo was not the only evening commuter looking over their shoulder after a gunman opened fire at the 36th Street station, wounding 10 and leaving 13 others injured from the havoc that ensued.

Ollie Forest, 22, was in the middle of his commute to the Bronx from Manhattan when he told that he wants to see a beefed-up police presence in subway stations after Tuesday’s incident. 

‘You definitely want to see more cops on the subway, first and foremost. You never see anything like that anywhere else,’ Forest said.

The attack in the Big Apple’s underground transit system is just the latest in a wave of crime that has plagued the city and hobbled its economic comeback after two years of pandemic restrictions.

Transit crime has spiked 46 percent – with 224 more incidents – since last year as the city reopened. 

Taina Arroyo, 39, exclusively told that she feels more ‘terrified’ and ‘scared’ to take the subway now after Tuesday’s shooting at 36th Street station in Brooklyn

Ollie Forest, 22, a daily commuter between the Bronx and Manhattan, said he wants to see ‘more cops’ spread around in the Big Apple’s subway stations after Tuesday’s shooting

Daniela Velasco (left), 21, visiting from Veracruz, Mexico, refused to ride subway after the shooting. Martha (right), a longtime city resident who only gave her first name, said NYC is not as safe as it used to be

Anna, who spoke to at eighth street station near NYU, said thinks the subway is ‘scary’ and ‘getting scarier everyday’  

Another commuter, who preferred to stay anonymous, said she preferred to spend $60 on an Uber to bring her to work from Queens than to ride the subway on Tuesday morning after she heard about the shooting that took place at 36 street station in Brooklyn during rush hour

Jay, standing outside of the Union Square station on Tuesday, called the attack in Brooklyn ‘just sad’ and ‘despicable.’ He added that ‘even when you’re trying to go to work or trying to earn a living, you could be a victim to some careless sense of violence’ nowadays in New York

There have been have been nearly 500 major crimes reported underground this year, 224 more than the year before

Workday ridership on the subway is still at about 60 percent of what it was before the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020 with 3.3 million riders using the system. 

In March alone, the number of crimes in the subway jumped 55 percent, from the same period last year, according to the latest New York City Police Department statistics.  There were 180 crimes reported in March of this year compared to 118 crimes for 2021. 

Martha, an actress who has frequently been taking the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan since she first moved to the city in the 1980s, said ‘New York is really not the New York when I moved here.’ 

When asked if she’s optimistic about Adams not only improving the alarming surge in crime in the city but also on the subway, Martha said: ‘No and I think everybody is always trying to get reelected so they just say whatever.’ 

Jay, who did not disclose his late name or his profession for ‘safety reasons,’ called the attack on Tuesday morning ‘sad’ and ‘just despicable.’ He added: ‘People’s lives are being put at stake and you have to be on guard and protect yourself and you got to stay safe, even moments on the train when you’re trying to go to work or trying to earn a living, you could be a victim to some careless sense of violence.’

Daniela Velasco, 21, who’s visiting New York from Mexico, said she ‘didn’t take the subway’ Tuesday because she’s taking precautions after the shooting in Brooklyn.

‘I felt secure until today, but now I will have to be more conscious and more alert when taking the subway.’

A commuter of Asian descent, who didn’t want her name used said: ‘I ride the subway because I have to, but I don’t think it’s safe.’ 

‘I took a $60 Uber to work from Queens because of what I heard about this morning and because the suspect was still on foot,’ she added.

‘People’s live are being put at stake and you have to be on guard and protect yourself and you got to stay safe, even moments on the train when you’re trying to go to work or trying to earn a living, you could be a victim to some careless sense of violence. And its just sad and its just despicable. And we have to do better as people. To learn to love ourselves and to love each other.’ 

Another subway rider, who only wanted to go by Anna, said subway safety is ‘scary’ and is ‘getting scarier everyday.’ 

‘I actually carry pepper-spray and I started using it,’ she told ‘There’s actually in this station, this particular station, a guy that I’ve seen at least 10 times in the past year and he screams he’s going to kill somebody and he’s going to cut them with a knife,’ she added, referring to Eighth Street station, not far from NYU’s campus.

Horror pictures from the scene showed blood strewn across the carriage during the latest attack to rock the city

A mass shooting and possible explosion have rocked a subway train in New York at rush hour

This is how the horror shooting unfolded on Tuesday morning on the northbound N train at 8.24am as it approached 36th Street station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

The NYPD were trying to track down the renter of a van connected to the violence that took place in Sunset Park, near Fourth Avenue and 36th Street. 

Chief of Detectives James Essig said investigators weren’t sure whether the man, identified as Frank R. James, 62, had any link to the subway attack. 

The attack turned the morning commute into a scene of horror: a smoke-filled underground car, an onslaught of at least 33 bullets, screaming riders running through a station, bloodied people lying on the platform as others tended to them.

Five gunshot victims were in critical condition but expected to survive. At least a dozen people who escaped gunshot wounds were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

NYPD are hunting for Frank James, described as a ‘person of interest’ in the Brooklyn subway shooting

Sitting in the back of the train’s second car, the gunman tossed two smoke grenades on the floor, pulled out a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and started firing, Essig said. He said police found the weapon, along with extended magazines, a hatchet, detonated and undetonated smoke grenades, a black garbage can, a rolling cart, gasoline and the key to a U-Haul van.

That key led investigators to James, who has addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, the detective chief said. The van was later found, unoccupied, near a subway station where investigators determined the gunman entered the train system, Essig said.

Rambling, profanity-filled YouTube videos apparently posted by James, who is Black, are replete with Black nationalist rhetoric, violent language and bigoted comments, some of them directed at other Black people.

One, posted April 11, criticizes crime against Black people and says drastic action is needed to change things. Another, from March 20, says the nation was ‘born in violence, it’s kept alive by violence or the threat thereof and it’s going to die a violent death.’

A February 20 video says the mayor and governor’s plan to improve safety in New York City’s subway system ‘is doomed for failure’ and refers to himself as a ‘victim’ of the mayor’s mental health program. A January 25 video — called ‘Dear Mr. Mayor’ — is somewhat critical of Adams’ plan to end gun violence.  

The U-Haul that police believe is connected to the Brooklyn subway shooter is shown on Tuesday at 1780 West Third Street near King’s Highway in Brooklyn, five miles from the subway station where the attack took place. A bomb squad is at the scene

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