Accused Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James: Judge orders suspect held on 'permanent detention' pending trial

Frank R. James is accused of firing his weapon 33 times 'in cold blood at terrified passengers who had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide,' prosecutors allege

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A magistrate judge granted federal prosecutors' request that accused Brooklyn subway shooter Frank R. James be held in "permanent detention" pending his trial during the suspect's brief initial appearance in a Brooklyn court on Thursday. 

Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann ordered James, 62, held without bail pending any future requests that the defense team is entitled to make. The suspect, who has been charged with one count of committing a terrorist or other violent attack against a mass transportation system, is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, records show. 

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Frank James, 62, suspected of opening fire in a crowded New York City subway station has been taken into custody and charged with a terror-related offense, officials announce on Wednesday in New York City, United States on April 12, 2022. 

Frank James, 62, suspected of opening fire in a crowded New York City subway station has been taken into custody and charged with a terror-related offense, officials announce on Wednesday in New York City, United States on April 12, 2022.  (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"The defendant committed a premediated (sic) mass shooting on the New York City subway system and then fled the scene, with a stockpile of ammunition and other dangerous items stowed in his storage unit," states a detention memo filed in Brooklyn federal court on Thursday, just minutes before James was scheduled to appear. "The defendant presents a severe and ongoing danger to the community, as well as a serious risk of flight, that no set of release conditions can mitigate."

James made his initial appearance before the court at approximately 12:45 p.m. ET, wearing an olive green prison-issued shirt and pants and blue sneakers. He sat flanked by his attorneys and spoke briefly when prompted by the judge. He was not outfitted with shackles or handcuffs, and wore glasses at times during his appearance.

Mia Eisner-Grynberg, of Federal Defenders of New York and lawyer for mass shooting suspect Frank James, speaks with members of the media after a brief proceeding in Federal Court on April 14, 2022 in New York City. 

Mia Eisner-Grynberg, of Federal Defenders of New York and lawyer for mass shooting suspect Frank James, speaks with members of the media after a brief proceeding in Federal Court on April 14, 2022 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The government spoke only briefly during the 10-minute appearance, at which time Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Winik told the court that James "terrifyingly opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, interrupting their morning commute in a way this City hasn't seen in more than 20 years."

After the appearance, defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg told reporters that what happened on Tuesday "was a tragedy." 

"It is a blessing that it was not worse," she said. "We caution against a rush to judgment."

Eisner-Grynberg added that her client saw his photograph on the news and "called Crime Stoppers to help."

READ THE DETENTION MEMO HERE: 

"He told them where he was," she said. "Initial press and police reports in cases like this one are often inaccurate. Mr. James is entitled to a fair trial, and we will ensure that he receives one."

Eisner-Grynberg has requested a psychiatric evaluation. She also said her client takes magnesium for "leg cramps," and asked that he be provided the supplement during his detention.

James is accused of boarding a Brooklyn subway train on Tuesday morning, then deploying a smoke canister and firing his weapon 33 times "in cold blood at terrified passengers who had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide," the detention memo states. Officials have said 29 people were injured, including 10 who suffered gunshot wounds.

Frank James is the suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting that left 28 people injured

Frank James is the suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting that left 28 people injured (NYPD)

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"The defendant’s criminal conduct was extraordinarily serious. The victims who boarded the defendant’s subway car on the morning of April 12 could not have predicted the horror that would await them on their morning commute," the memo states.

James has been charged with one count of committing a terrorist or other violent attack against a mass transportation system. 

He faces up to life in prison if convicted. A public defender appointed to represent him did not respond to Fox News Digital's request seeking comment.

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The prosecution, being led by Assistant U.S Attorney Sara Winik, argues that James, who has been linked to New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Wisconsin and Ohio, has no permanent address and poses a flight risk. Winik wrote that the prosecution has "strong" evidence against him, including surveillance footage and property left at the scene. Investigators discovered clothes they say James was wearing during the incident, as well as bank cards and the weapon that investigators believe was used to carry out the crime. 

"Before he conducted his attack, the defendant posted videos online in which he criticized the New York subway system and discussed killing people, including with a gun," Winik wrote. And "law enforcement officers located ammunition for multiple firearms, as well as other weapons and tools for conducting an attack, in properties rented by the defendant." 

She further called James "a danger to the community," who had "a stockpile of weapons and other dangerous items stored in various locations that he controls."

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She pointed to videos James posted to social media, including one in which he "instructed others how to make a Molotov cocktail, a homemade incendiary device often used in violent attacks."

She added: "The defendant also posted a video in which he stated a desire to kill and shoot people."

Wearing a blue shirt, dark-colored pants and dark sneakers, James was arrested by the New York Police Department just before 1:45 p.m. local time Wednesday, about 30 hours after he allegedly carried out his terrifying attack.

Police released these surveillance images showing Frank James entering the Kings HIghway subway station in Gravesend, Brooklyn, shortly before the attack on a Manhattan-bound N train in Sunset Park Tuesday morning.

Police released these surveillance images showing Frank James entering the Kings HIghway subway station in Gravesend, Brooklyn, shortly before the attack on a Manhattan-bound N train in Sunset Park Tuesday morning. (NYPD)

James is accused of injuring 29 people in a Sunset Park, Brooklyn, subway station around 8:25 a.m. Tuesday morning. James was allegedly aboard a Manhattan-bound N train during morning rush-hour when he placed a gas mask on his face, activated a smoke canister and opened fire inside the train and on the platform of the 36th Street subway station. 

Authorities said James rented a U-Haul van from a Philadelphia store on Monday and made his way into Brooklyn on Tuesday morning, according to the federal criminal complaint. 

READ THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL COMPLAINT HERE:

"New York City Police Department video surveillance cameras recorded the U-Haul Vehicle driving over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at approximately 4:11 a.m. on April 12, 2022, and entering Brooklyn, New York," states the document, released Thursday. "The U-Haul Vehicle crossed state lines from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and then to New York."

At approximately 6:12 a.m. on Tuesday, a surveillance camera located at West 7th Street and Kings Highway in Gravesend, Brooklyn, "recorded an individual wearing a yellow hard hat, orange working jacket with reflective tape, carrying a backpack in his right hand and dragging a rolling bag in his left hand, leaving the U-Haul Vehicle on foot," the complaint states. 

The individual then entered a nearby subway station and rode the train an estimated eight stops before unleashing his attack, NYPD officials said Tuesday. 

New York City Police, left, and law enforcement officials lead subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, 62, center, away from a police station, in New York, Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

New York City Police, left, and law enforcement officials lead subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, 62, center, away from a police station, in New York, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Authorities allege that James then boarded a different subway after the attack and fled from the area. According to the complaint, authorities discovered two bags and the reflective jacket among items that were left behind at the scene.

"The first bag contained, among other items, a firearm, a plastic container containing gasoline, a torch, a U-Haul key, and multiple bank cards," the document states. "The second bag contained fireworks, which are black powder-filled explosives."

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A general manager at the U-Haul location did not respond to Fox News Digital’s multiple requests for information. John B. DeVito, special agent in charge of the ATF's New York Field Office, said James acquired the gun he had used "from a federal firearms licensee in Ohio in 2011."

The criminal complaint further describes how James also left behind a debit card under his name.

The document adds: "Records provided by U-Haul revealed that, on April 11, 2022, at approximately 2:03 p.m., an individual named ‘Frank James' rented from U-Haul in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a white Chevrolet Express Model G2500 Cargo Van with Arizona plates … U-Haul records reflected that the individual reserved and prepaid for the rental on or about April 6, 2022."

NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said Wednesday that James' arrest history includes nine prior arrests in New York from 1992 and 1998, including for criminal sex act, four instances of possession of burglary tools and two instances of theft of service. 

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He was also arrested at least three times in New Jersey in 1991, 1992 and 2007, for trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct, Essig said. 

Fox News' Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.