Anxieties resurface as gunfire erupts on NYC subway | Health

NEW YORK (AP) — Because the yr started, New Yorkers shuddered at a subway crime straight out of city nightmares — the demise of a lady shoved onto the tracks by a disturbed stranger. Town’s new mayor vowed to “make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system.”

However commuters Tuesday morning confronted an attack that evoked many riders’ deepest fears. A rush-hour prepare automotive crammed with smoke because it pulled right into a Brooklyn station. Gunshots — no less than 33 of them — rang out, wounding no less than 10 folks.

Frightened riders fled, and so did the gunman, who remained at giant Wednesday.

A lot remains to be unknown in regards to the assault, together with whether or not it was an act of terrorism. Authorities stated they have been trying to find Frank R. James, 62, the suspect who they are saying rented a van linked to the taking pictures.

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It was a searing reminder of town’s unyielding battle with gun violence and the specter of terror-like assaults that hangs over New York Metropolis — and notably the subway system that’s its transportation spine.

Police and safety officers have made many makes an attempt to harden town towards such assaults, placing officers on trains and platforms, putting in cameras and even doing uncommon spot checks for weapons on passengers getting into some stations.

But the sprawling system, with almost 500 stations, largely stays like town streets themselves: Too massive to protect and too busy to utterly safe.

Public officers say the subway system is essential to town’s restoration from the coronavirus pandemic, which noticed many New Yorker avoiding mass transit throughout its peak. Typical each day subway ridership fell from 5.5 million riders to lower than a tenth of that.

However as extra folks return to places of work, ridership is rising. On Monday, estimated ridership was 3.1 million, in line with the MTA, which operates the system.

With the gunman nonetheless on the free, commuters like Julia Brown had little alternative however to maintain driving the rails.

“It’s the only way to get home — other than the express bus and then another bus and then another bus,” Brown, who works in Manhattan, stated simply hours after the assault. “I lived through 9/11. I lived through the blackout. You just have to be as safe as you can, and just be mindful around your environment.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul posted a photo on social media showing her riding a train after the shooting, and Mayor Eric Adams pledged to increase patrols in subway stations.

“We know that this hurts the mindset of many New Yorkers who are afraid of what happened, but we’re a resilient city. We’ve been here before,” Adams instructed MSNBC on Wednesday.

Even earlier than the assault, the mayor had vowed to increase subway patrols and launch sweeps of subway stations and trains to take away homeless folks utilizing them as shelters.

In a rambling video posted on YouTube, James replayed recent speeches by Adams and Hochul and mocked their efforts to address violence as weak and futile.

“Their plan is doomed for failure,” James said in the video.

In the 1980s, New York City’s subways were a symbol of urban disorder: graffiti-covered, crime-plagued and shunned by tourists.

Like the rest of the city, though, the subways have since cleaned up their act. Before COVID-19 hit, the main problem with the trains wasn’t crime but overcrowding and breakdowns related to aging infrastructure.

After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, New Yorkers learned to live with the worry that the subways or other parts of the city could be a terror target.

In 2017, an Islamic State group sympathizer detonated a pipe bomb strapped to his chest in a subway station near the Port Authority Bus Terminal, injuring several bystanders.

That same year, the city began expanding the use of vehicle-blocking sidewalk barriers after two attacks. In one, a man who prosecutors said was also supportive of IS drove a rented truck down a bicycle path along the Hudson River, killing eight people and maiming others. In another, a psychologically disturbed man drove a car at high speed into pedestrians in Times Square, killing one and injuring at least 20.

In 2016, a man who prosecutors said sympathized with Osama bin Laden set off homemade bombs in Manhattan and New Jersey, injuring some bystanders, before being captured in a shootout with police. And in 2010, a man tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, only to have it fizzle.

Christopher Herrmann, a former city police officer who is now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said episodes like Tuesday’s are bound to provoke a new round of anxiety, especially among subway riders.

“With 9/11, you have a specific target: the World Trade Center,” Herrmann said. “A lot of people can wrap their heads around that.”

But the seeming randomness of Tuesday’s attack “really invokes a lot of fear and worry,” he said, “because most people don’t consider themselves a target.”

Some subway riders expressed concern while others shrugged it off as an everyday risk.

Alexi Vizhnay considered boarding a ferry across the East River after work Tuesday but decided to take his chances on the subway. It was simply the most efficient way to get home to Queens.

“There’s a lot of things that happen out of your control,” he said. “As tragic as it is, all I can do is remind myself to be vigilant and be cautious.”

By Wednesday morning, the station where the shot-up train pulled into had reopened and commuters were once again on their way.

“You have to be more vigilant of your surroundings. But scared? No,” said Ana Marrero, who has taken the subway to work for 30 years. “You think of the tragedy and the people that were hurt, but you have no other choice and do what you have to do.”

Associated Press journalists Jennifer Peltz, Jim Mustian, Michael R. Sisak, Seth Wenig and Joseph B. Frederick contributed to this report.

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