April 13, 2022
Michael Hill: Mayor Adams joins us now live to give us the latest. Mr. Mayor, good morning.
Mayor Eric Adams: Good morning. How are you?
Hill: I'm doing well. How are you, sir?
Mayor Adams: Great. I was just recently briefed by our team. We have now upgraded the person of interest to being a suspect.
Hill: What changed, sir?
Mayor Adams: Based on new information that has become available to the team.
Hill: Mr. Mayor, how close are police to locating suspect Frank James? Why is it seeming to take so long? It's 24 hours after this incident.
Mayor Adams: Well, number one, we should take our hats off to the police department, the state, the federal agencies that have come together to help us in apprehending this person. This was good, old fashioned police work. Being able to identify the van, being able to identify his social media channels, using all the pieces together to this puzzle. This is actually an amazing turnaround with the lack of information that we had. It shows the cooperation, together. We're going to find this person and hold him accountable for his actions.
Hill: Now, police officials said that James appeared to post videos on YouTube in which he mentions homelessness, New York City, and you, specifically. Have you watched these videos? Do you have a sense of this person's motive?
Mayor Adams: No. I was briefed by the team. We know one of his motives was to create terror in our system. We will know once he's apprehended and we continue to do investigation to determine how this is going to be classified, but there was a clear desire to create terror. When you bring a smoke bomb, when you bring an automatic weapon, wear a gas mask, in a very methodical way, injure and attempt to harm innocent New Yorkers, that is terror. We are going to call it as we see it. We will go and find out from a very thorough investigation as we put this case together, because the goal is not only to apprehend him, but to have a successful prosecution.
Hill: Now, Mr. Mayor, we're told that either the cameras within this subway system were not working, or that the NYPD doesn't monitor these MTA cameras. What is your understanding about the state of surveillance cameras within the subway system? Is the NYPD responsible for monitoring these cameras?
Mayor Adams: Oftentimes, when people talk about this subway system, they automatically believe it's under the control of the mayor, it's not. It's under the control of the state. The camera system is controlled by the MTA. They are cooperating with us, to assist us in finding out what happened at the train station. We don't have a full understanding of that as of this moment, but that is the control of the MTA. They have been extremely cooperative. We thank them for that. We want to also fully understand what happened at the 36th street train station, because part of closing this investigation, identifying incidents like this, the video technology and the information that could come from it is extremely important.
Hill: Mr. Mayor, shouldn't these cameras then be under the surveillance or the system for the NYPD, since you're sending NYPD officers into the subway system?
Mayor Adams: That is something that only the governor can make a determination of, or the MTA board. Anytime you have an incident like this and review, you look at what are the best practices and what we can do better. We need to learn from any issue of this magnitude. We will determine later that would be something that would be brought up to a part of our review and what we could do better in incidents like this.
Hill: On other news programs this morning, you've mentioned too, and to hint that the subway might install some new gun technology, gun detecting technology used in ballparks to detect guns, of course. Would you tell us more about that?
Mayor Adams: There's new technology. In January when I took office, it was my desire to send my deputy mayor of public safety throughout the globe and find out what new technologies are available that can help keep people equal safe during this new climate of over proliferation of guns, of people using guns to go into schools, ballparks, and other areas. We have identified several new technologies that are not like the metal detectors that are used at airports, where you have to empty your pockets and go through a long line to get in. No, you just walk normally through the system. It is not even detectable that the devices are there. We think there's some great promise in this technology. We are going to continue to explore that. We're not at the place of full implementation, but we are excited about what we have witnessed thus far. We are going to be looking to do a few pilot projects to see the full use of it.
Hill: Mr. Mayor, how do we avoid something like this happening, say even tomorrow? What do you say about safety on the subway to the people who rely on this every day to go back and forth to work?
Mayor Adams: Well, I'm one of them. I use the subway system often. I believe it plays a vital role in our city. It is crucial to the recovery of this city. My advice and instructions to the New Yorkers, today that need the subway system; number one, let's be vigilant. Let's stay alert. If anyone happens to see this person or anyone acting suspicious, notify your local authorities. We are going to make sure we have the omnipresence that's needed so people can feel the confidence of using our system. It's imperative that we assist in all the pieces of this puzzle to bring this person to justice. This is traumatizing to experience this, to read about it. We understand that. We need our subway system and New Yorkers have been here before. I was on the subway when the September 11th attacks took place and that was traumatizing, but this is a resilient city. We understand the resiliency of our city. We are not going to allow a fear and anyone who wants to bring a terror action to our city to stop this city from its recovery.
Hill: Mayor Eric Adams naming Frank James a suspect on WNYC this morning. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your time. Please come back and see us again.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.