Accused Subway Shooter Held Without Bail Following First Court Appearance

Accused subway shooter Frank Robert James made his first court appearance Thursday in Brooklyn federal court. He did not enter a plea and the judge determined he’d be held without bail. James was arrested Wednesday afternoon after an attack during the Tuesday morning commute on a Subway train in Brooklyn that left 16 people injured, 10 from gunshot wounds. 

United States Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann asked James if he understood the charge he faces — terrorist attacks or other violence against a mass transportation system — and James replied in the affirmative. The judge agreed to the government’s request to hold James, 62, without bail, although she said she would consider a bail request by the defense in the future. Speaking for the prosecution, Sara Winik said the government had requested his permanent detention because of the nature of James’ alleged crime. “The defendant terrifyingly opened fire on passengers on a crowded subway train, interrupting their morning commutes,” she said, adding that the act had been “pre-meditated, carefully planned, and caused terror” across the city. 

According to a complaint filed Wednesday by federal authorities, James used a dangerous weapon “with the intent to cause death and serious bodily injury to one or more persons on a terminal, structure, track, and facility used in the operation of a mass transportation vehicle,” and that he traveled from Philadelphia, crossing state lines to commit the offense.

At the hearing, James’ defense attorneys requested a psychiatric evaluation as medical treatment, not a competency evaluation, they specified. They also requested that he be provided magnesium tablets in jail, as he takes the supplement to treat leg cramps.

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