A manhunt is now underway as details continue to emerge in this developing situation.
At least four of the victims were found at the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park and another at the 25th Street station in Greenwood Heights just before 8:30 a.m.
It appears at this time to have happened on the southbound R train, beginning at the 25th Street station. As the doors closed, the suspect threw the smoke bombs and opened fire.
The victims, and presumably the suspect, then got off the subway train at the 36th Street station.
“This perpetrator dropped those smoke cans, if that’s what they are, and shot around, and then exited from that point,” retired NYC Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “He’s not going to stay on there if there’s smoke on there, even if he has the filter mask.”
No arrests have been made, and schools in the area went into a shelter in place as the search continues.
Police were looking at as many as four packages initially deemed suspicious, but they were later determined to be unfounded.
“I saw a lot of people coming out of the train station,” said a man who works in the area. “One of them was injured. I believe it was a lady that was getting shot in her leg, and a lot of people was coming up from side to side, screaming, asking for help.”
A mother described a chaotic scene after dropping her daughter off at school.
“All you heard was a big, loud noise that sounded like a big bang, an explosion, and then there were people running out of the train station,” she said. “So it was just very hectic this morning.”
The victims were taken to various hospitals.
NYU Langone-Brooklyn told the ABC News Medical Unit they took eight patients who are in stable condition, while five of the victims are at Maimonides Medical Center, with two were being treated for gunshot wounds and three for smoke inhalation.
NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital is currently treating a total of three patients injured in the subway attack.
None of the injuries are considered life threatening at this point.
A student from Brooklyn Tech was on the subway when it happened.
“I was a few cars down, and the conductor told everyone to get on the train,” he said. “I was just scared, and at the next stop, he told everyone to get off. Everyone evacuated, and I didn’t know what happened.”
The suspect was described as a Black male, 5-foot-5 and 175 to 180 pounds.
An FBI official says they are assisting NYPD and that it remains unclear at this point whether there is any connection to terrorism, but FBI headquarters is monitoring.
The N/R lines are shut from 59th Street in Manhattan to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and there are subway disruptions throughout the area across multiple lines. CLICK HERE for the latest MTA service updates.
Mayor Eric Adams is monitoring the situation but cannot respond due to his recent COVID diagnosis. Governor Kathy Hochul said she has also been briefed.
I have been briefed on this developing situation in Brooklyn. First responders are on the scene and we will work with @MTA & @NYPDnews to provide updates as the investigation continues. https://t.co/dM2hKnhoql
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) April 12, 2022
Nassau County police said they increasing patrols around all critical infrastructure with an emphasis on mass transit, though there is no known threat, and that Commissioner Patrick Ryder has been in conversations with the NYPD and has briefed Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released a statement on Twitter.
We are praying for the victims and those impacted by this morning’s horrific shooting in Brooklyn. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with our partners in New York to ensure everyone’s safety.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 12, 2022
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has been apprised of the situation.
@POTUS has been briefed on the latest developments regarding the New York City subway shooting. White House senior staff are in touch with Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Sewell to offer any assistance as needed.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) April 12, 2022
A Department of Justice spokesperson said Attorney General Merrick Garland has also received a preliminary briefing and is monitoring the situation.
Police officers were canvassing 4th Avenue, the station’s cross-street, asking witnesses whether they were on the train. A sea of emergency lights was visible from at least a dozen blocks away, where a police cordon was set up.
The shootings come as New York City has faced a spate a shootings and high-profile incidents in recent months, including on the city’s subways. One of the most shocking was in January when a woman was pushed to her death in front of a train by a stranger.
Adams has made cracking down on crime, especially on the subways, a focus of his early administration, pledging to send more police officers into stations and platforms for regular patrols.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether officers had already been inside the station when the shootings occurred.
Notify NYC urges anyone unable to reach someone who may have been impacted to call 311. If outside New York City, please call 212-639-9675.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.