NYC subway attack shows city’s ongoing struggle to grapple with mental health, crime surge, experts say

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New York City’s Brooklyn subway taking pictures allegedly at the hands of a male with a self-proclaimed mental wellbeing historical past has prompted renewed phone calls for necessary solutions and safety measures in the transit process. 

The terrifying functions of the April 12 Brooklyn subway capturing, which left 29 persons wounded, which include 10 with gunshot wounds, have highlighted the want for the observe-via of expert services and guarantees designed by metropolis officers and Mayor Eric Adams, in accordance to transit criminal offense and policing industry experts. 

“I consider New York has had a challenge for rather a while,” previous New York Town Law enforcement Commissioner Ray Kelly instructed Fox News Digital about the need to have for psychological wellbeing aid. “This has just held producing. I assume we have not done as a lot as we could as far as the metropolis to tackle the issue.”

James, 62, is staying held without having bail at the Metropolitan Detention Heart, a federal detention facility in Brooklyn. He has been charged with 1 count of committing a terrorist or other violent assault against a mass transportation method, and faces up to life in prison if convicted. 

“The psychological wellbeing community has absolutely dropped the ball on this.”

— Dr. Dorothy Schulz, MTA-Metro North Railroad Police Captain (Ret.)

He was allegedly aboard a Manhattan-certain N-train through early morning hurry-hour when he positioned a gas mask on his facial area, activated a smoke canister and commenced capturing inside the teach and on the system of the 36th Road subway station. 

Prosecutors have described how he “terrifyingly opened hearth on passengers on a crowded subway practice, interrupting their morning commute in a way this City hasn’t witnessed in more than 20 many years.”

“We have to have extra institutional beds for individuals who have a critical psychological disorder,” Kelly went on. “You see a large amount of folks that plainly will need assistance, and we have not completed plenty of to help people individuals.” 


All through his original court docket look previous week, James’ court appointed legal professional, Mia Eisner-Grynberg requested her consumer undergo psychiatric evaluation. And a evaluate of a YouTube account joined to the suspect reveals he has a record of submitting movies in which he criticizes Mayor Eric Adams, social staff, and homeless men and women, among the other folks, and threatens to get rid of persons. 

In a single of the clips, all of which have given that been deleted, he criticized Adams and his administration for his mental health and fitness and subway protection guidelines. “Mr. Mayor, allow me say to you I am a target of your mental well being method in New York Metropolis,” he reportedly said in yet another movie. 

Police are even now investigating a feasible motive for the assault. In the meantime, Kelly claimed people have been understandably nervous about riding the subways for very some time. 

“You search at the selection of crimes that transpire, of training course, they’re minuscule in comparison to that inhabitants. But continue to they get so considerably publicity, and you are so confined in the subway,” he went on. “We’ve had these horrific circumstances with folks pushed on the tracks … There is an comprehensible heightened worry about traveling on the subways these days.”

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In the wake of the shooting, Kelly named for a increased existence of law enforcement officers in the transit technique, which Adams has previously acknowledged he planned to do.

Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Adams’ business office, claimed the mayor “has been abundantly distinct that general public basic safety is his top rated precedence.”

“As the mayor has explained, he is targeted on both of those decreasing criminal offense in the town, as effectively as the notion of crime,” Levy wrote in an emailed response. “This will not be performed right away, but we are using some of the most significant steps in yrs to shield New Yorkers.”

In January, just times immediately after young philanthropist Michelle Alyssa Go was fatally shoved in entrance of an oncoming subway teach in Manhattan, Adams introduced programs to phase up psychological wellbeing aid in transit.


“We have to do a better occupation in obtaining all those who are disruptive on this method, appear to have true mental wellbeing crises, Adams informed reporters at the time, “to give them the solutions they require and not depart them on the program.”

Go, a 40-12 months-aged Asian American girl, was standing on the system inside the Times Sq. subway station a person Saturday early morning when Simon Martial, 61, pushed her in entrance of an R coach as it rolled in, police claimed. 

Martial was charged with second-degree murder and was later on deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. As just lately as Tuesday, prosecutors reaffirmed Martial’s unfit position. He stays in the custody of the Office of Mental Well being and Hygiene until finally he is deemed in shape for demo.

Months soon after Go’s death, Adams unveiled his “Subway Protection Program” flanked by regional and point out elected officers, such as Gov. Kathy Hochul. The application was aimed at furnishing companies to homeless individuals and those encountering psychological wellbeing complications, and targeting loiterers, turnstile-jumpers and criminal opportunists.

As portion of the plan, the Town also deployed 30 joint response teams to do immediate outreach, in addition to the deployment of far more officers.

Previous Commissioner Kelly also emphasized the great importance of a better law enforcement existence in the subway, which Adams even further promised in the wake of James’ alleged attack. But some, which include Kelly’s successor, Monthly bill Bratton, have stated they’re fascinated in seeing what is basically staying accomplished, as opposed to what is currently being promised.

Talking all through an job interview with ABC’s Invoice Ritter earlier this 7 days, Bratton claimed he hopes the town is “a small much more precise” when articulating how several officers are presently assigned to the subways.

NYC subway attack shows city’s ongoing struggle to grapple with mental health, crime surge, experts say

People today wander by means of a subway station in Manhattan on January 19, 2022, in New York City. 
(Picture by Spencer Platt/Getty Visuals)

“There’s presently about 35, 3600 cops down there,” he stated. “I’ve sort of gotten a small dropped as to what’s in fact down there as opposed to what’s remaining promised. They could possibly articulate a small far more what exactly is going to be beneath floor. But as vital, what are they going to do?”


Bratton even more stated Adams is proposing tips that have worked in the previous, but is forced to contend with other companies and officers who “really don’t get it” or “do not realize how undesirable this metropolis can, in point, get.” 

Adams’ business did not instantly answer to Fox News Electronic request for remark. 

New York City Police Department personnel gather at the entrance to a subway stop in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

New York City Law enforcement Department staff obtain at the entrance to a subway quit in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
(AP Picture/John Minchillo)

Dr. Dorothy Schulz, a previous captain for MTA-Metro North Railroad Police, worked for the division till she retired in 1988. Schulz said the prevalence of people with mental wellbeing challenges on the trains is “barely a new challenge.” 

Schulz, a professor emeritus at John Jay College or university of Prison Justice, recalled sitting down for plenty of meetings with mental health pros about the situation, but explained the burden of duty was consistently placed on police, alternatively than the psychological wellbeing local community.

I am heading to be incredibly open up and say, I indicate the psychological health group has fully dropped the ball on this,” she advised Fox Information Digital. 

“It is gotten even worse,” she included. “I am shocked and definitely disgusted, to be pretty genuine, as to how the mental wellness institution has escaped any scrutiny through all of this.” 

The most recent NYPD stats, produced Monday, display transit criminal offense is up 66.8% 12 months to date as of Sunday in contrast to the exact time in 2021, with 398 when compared to this year’s 664 and counting. 

Previous yr, the MTA noted its best range of murders and felony assaults due to the fact the company commenced retaining observe in 1997, records exhibit. 

Joe Giacalone, an adjunct professor for John Jay School of Prison Justice, attributed the prevalence of those with mental health challenges in the subway system to individuals who are “slapping a Band-Support on matters” or promising a person issue and performing another. He further described how Mayor Adams has so much been “all communicate and no motion.” 

Giacalone cautioned the general public from “portray each and every incident with the mental wellbeing brush.” 

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“There’s a ton to be said about this Frank James,” stated Giacalone, who is also a former NYPD govt officer who boasted 20 many years on the position. “He had comprehensive preparing. He had gasoline masks. He experienced smoke bombs. He experienced a plan to get there.”

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis contributed to this report.