A masked gunman detonated a smoke bomb and opened fire on Tuesday morning in a New York City subway car, injuring at least 16 people and throwing a morning commuter into chaos in the latest violence in the city’s transit system, according to reports. Ten people were shot in the incident, New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, without saying how the other injuries happened.
The killer was still at large, and the incident was not currently being investigated as a terrorism, Sewell said, but would exclude nothing but motive.
Smoke blew out as the train drove past the 36th Street station in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn and opened its doors, the video showed. Riders trapped inside went out, some fell to the ground. Images showed streaks of blood on the platform.
Unverified video footage circulating on social media showed that the smoky train was pulling into the 36th Street station, and passengers roaring from the carriage, some apparently injured.
A separate video posted on Instagram revealed showing passengers lying to bloody victims on a dirty station platform.
Those images, also unverified, showed subway personnel watching panic passengers, some even their morning coffee cups, off the platform and into the carriages of a stationary train.
An unknown person can be heard saying that there was a fire in the train car, and that he saw “at least eight people” shot.
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The suspect was reported as a black man with a heavy build, wearing a green construction-type vest and a hooded sweatshirt, Sewell said.
Outside the station on 36th Street, in an area known for its thriving Chinatown and views of the Statue of Liberty, authorities closed dozens of blocks and closed the immediate area with yellow tape of crime.
Tacho Ramos, who worked in a deli near the station, said he initially thought a fight on the train had broken out when he saw an uproar.
“But then I saw all the police … This country is like that. It’s crazy. Today it’s New York, tomorrow it’s Washington, then it’s Chicago,” he said.
WABC and NBC New York, referring to law enforcement officials, reported that the gunman had put smoke canisters on the train. Reuters could not immediately confirm these reports. The New York Police Department held a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
(With input from agencies)