Police on Tuesday mounted an intense manhunt for a gunman who set off a smoke bomb and then opened fire on a New York subway car, injuring at least 17 people in a rush-hour attack.
Police said the perpetrator, who was seen wearing a gas mask and is believed to have acted alone, fled immediately. The attack occurred when a subway train on the N line, bound for Manhattan, entered a station in the neighborhood of Sunset Park, in Brooklyn.
Ten people were directly hit by gunfire, five of whom are hospitalized in critical but stable condition, according to authorities.
Police looking for the armed man who left almost 30 injured in an attack on the New York subway
Seven other people were injured by shrapnel or for other reasons in the chaos that ensued as panicked passengers fled the smoke-filled subway car, some collapsing on the pavement as they reached the station platform. 36th street.
Firefighters said two of the injured were treated at the scene.
According to CNN and other media, a total of 29 people who suffered various injuries in the incident went to hospitals in the area, although most were treated in the emergency room and released.
CNN, Fox News and several local media outlets reported that a U-Haul van that authorities were looking for in connection with the shooting had been found parked on a city street a few miles from the crime scene.
The suspect, described by police as a heavily built man wearing a green vest and hoodie, was still at large several hours after the shooting.
New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the shooting was not being investigated as an act of terrorism, although authorities were not ruling out anything as a motive.
Sewell said the suspect was seen putting on a gas mask in the train car as it was about to enter the station, then took a canister out of his bag and opened it.
“At that moment the train began to fill with smoke. He then opened fire, hitting several people in the subway and on the platform,” he added.
Outside the station, an area known for its thriving Chinatown and views of the Statue of Liberty, authorities closed a dozen blocks and cordoned off the area. Neighborhood schools were closed for security reasons.
John Butsikares, a 15-year-old who passed through the 36th Street station shortly after the incident, said the train conductor ordered everyone on the station platform to get on board.
“I didn’t know what had happened. It was a scary moment. And then at 25th Street (the next station) they told us all to get off. There were people crying out for medical attention,” explains Butsikares, who went to school.
New York, the most populous city in the United States, has seen a sharp rise in violent crime during the pandemic, including a series of seemingly random attacks on its subways. The system is one of the oldest and most extensive in the world.
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