Sixteen people were injured, including eight people who were shot, on a subway platform in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning, the FDNY said.
Fire personnel responding to reports of smoke at the 36th Street station in Sunset Park found multiple people shot, a New York City Fire Department spokesman said.
A smoke bomb was detonated, the NYPD said, but police warned in a tweet that there were “no active explosive devices at this time.”
It’s unclear if the suspect fled on a train or out of the station, said Detective Francis Sammon, a spokesman for the New York police. No arrests have been made yet.
Trains serving that station were delayed during the morning commute.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and his senior staff has contacted Mayor Eric Adams and New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell to offer assistance as needed, the press secretary for the White House, Jen Psaki, in a tweet Tuesday morning.
Dozens of emergency personnel could be seen in the area around the metro station on Tuesday, including a tent set up with firefighters, doctors with two stretchers and police officers scouring the area. The roads around the station appeared to be blocked.
The shooting occurred just blocks from the Brooklyn Nets practice facility at 39th Street and 2nd Ave. The team was practicing Tuesday morning before their NBA playoff game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center.
“It’s devastating to hear about it, to hear the sirens outside the practice facility,” Nets star Kevin Durant said. “You hope and pray for the best for everyone involved.”
Players and team personnel were at the facility or en route to team practice at 10 a.m. at the time of the shooting.
“I saw the helicopters out front, but I didn’t know the specific reason until I was inside,” Durant said.
“I didn’t find out until we were about to start [practice] or just before,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “Obviously it’s a very tragic morning. We are devastated for the community and for those directly involved. I don’t know many details so I don’t want to go into too much detail, but we are concerned for everyone involved.”
Police are advising the public to stay away from the area.
Spectators gathered at 37th Street and 4th Avenue.
Joana Morales, 45, of Sunset Park, was dropping off her daughter at nearby PS 24 when she noticed a crowd of panicked people fleeing the subway station. She was free on Tuesday, but said she normally uses that station.
“I’ve lived here 14 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Nassau County Police said there are no known threats in the county, but the department will increase patrols around critical infrastructure with an emphasis on public transportation, according to a news release issued by the police department.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder asked residents to report anything suspicious to 911.
The shooting comes after growing concerns among commuters in recent months about crime on the MTA system. In February, a 20-year-old man was shot to death on a Long Island Rail Road train at the Ronkonkoma station, the first fatal shooting on an LIRR train in 28 years. Police have not arrested any suspects.
Major crimes in the LIRR grew 7% last year, compared to the previous year. Through February of this year, serious crimes increased 350%, from two in the first months of 2021 to nine in the first two months of this year.
Crime concerns have been particularly pronounced in the New York City Transit subway system, which, in the first two months of 2022, saw a 73% increase in major crimes, compared to the same period last year.
Following a series of violent crimes in the subway system, including the fatal pushing of a Manhattan woman onto the tracks at a Times Square station, Governor Kathy Hochul and New York Mayor Eric Adams in February announced a new initiative to increase police presence on trains. and at stations, improve homeless outreach efforts and more strictly enforce subway rules, including regarding drug use.
MTA President and CEO Janno Lieber said last month there was evidence the efforts are taking hold, but warned that “it will take some time.”
“We are determined to make the system safer and we are working in partnership with the city government to make it happen,” Lieber said. “While we are by no means out of the water and there is a lot of progress to be made on subway security, I just want to acknowledge that the work has begun. A serious effort is underway.”
Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group for subway riders, implored the public to keep Tuesday’s events “in perspective.”
“This is an apparent terrorist attack. It’s something that the subway is, tragically, a target for, and has been a target before. It’s a place where millions of people congregate,” Pearlstein said. “It is a public square. It is our common space. And, to the extent that the city is vulnerable, the metro is vulnerable”.
Pearlstein expressed concern that the incident could further discourage some people from using the subway system. Two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, weekday subway ridership remains below 60% of 2019 levels.
MTA officials on Tuesday referred questions about the shooting to the New York police. MTA officials informed customers that there was no service on the D, N and R subway lines in Brooklyn and at some stations in Manhattan, and to expect “significant delays” on the B, D, F, N lines, Q and R.
“What’s going on? There is a major service outage as the NYPD responds to an incident on 36th Street,” the MTA said on Twitter.
It would not be the first time that the city’s subway system has been the scene of a massive attack. In December 2017, a pipe bomb was detonated during the morning rush hour inside the subway station serving the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street. The explosion injured four people, including the attacker, who He had the bomb on his body.
The attacker, Akayed Ullah, 31, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to life in federal prison last year.
Tony Utano, president of the Transportation Workers Union Local 100, said no transportation workers were injured in Tuesday’s shooting, the latest in a “appalling and horrific outburst of violence in our transportation system.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” Utano said.
With Matthew Chayes, Brinley Hineman, Barbara Barker, Nicholas Splangler, Alfonso A. Castillo and AP
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.