Relief in East Village after alleged Brooklyn shooter arrested

Frank James, the suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting, was arrested on Wednesday, April 13, after Zack Dahhan spotted him walking on the First Avenue sidewalk.


Manasa Gudavalli

Frank James being escorted by the police. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Zack Dahhan was repairing security cameras inside of Saifee Hardware & Garden in the East Village when he saw Frank James — the man accused of the mass shooting in a subway car on Tuesday, April 12 — standing on the sidewalk. Dahhan, a 21-year-old from New Jersey, was unsure if the man he saw walking was James, but he started jumping up and down to alert police and chased after him.

“I wanted to get him,” said Dahhan, who works at MACA Security Integrations. “He had a bag on his back. I was thinking he was going to bring some guns.”

The New York City Police Department received a tip from James that he was in a McDonald’s at Sixth Street and First Avenue. The police started to canvas the area and found James on the sidewalk between St. Marks Place and First Avenue. He was arrested in front of the Village Craft Beer & Smoke convenience store and East Village Wine at around 1:45 p.m.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • MACA Security Integrations employee Zack Dahhan saw Frank James on the sidewalk and tackled him to the ground. (Staff Photo by Rachel Cohen)

  • Suspect Frank James was seen inside of a McDonald’s at Sixth Street and First Avenue. (Staff Photo by Rachel Cohen)

  • Frank James was arrested in front of the Village Craft Beer & Smoke convenience store and East Village Wines near St. Marks Place and First Avenue. (Staff Photo by Rachel Cohen)

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

“As I went to this corner, there were piles of people rushing this way and cops coming in,” said Mark Maurice, an East Village resident of almost 30 years who was eating at Cafe Mogador. “I didn’t see the actual apprehension, but I walked past it and wasn’t thinking anything. I didn’t think about what it was until I sat down at Mogador.”

The NYPD had issued a warrant for the arrest of James, who was named a person of interest in the shooting at the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park on April 12. James has been charged with committing a terrorist attack on a mass transit system. He will be tried at the Brooklyn Federal Court, where he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

According to officials, James fled the scene after he set off smoke grenades and riddled a car on an N train with gunshots, leaving 29 people injured. A reward of up to $50,000 was offered by the NYPD to anyone with information about James. 

A group of police officers stand grouped on the street. Some wear uniforms while others wear suits. An officer in uniform to the right of the image overlooks the group, with the text “NYPD” visible on the back of the uniform.
Police transported James to the 9th Precinct on East Fifth Street between First and Second Avenues after his arrest. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

After James was apprehended, the police and Dahhan drove off to the NYPD’s 9th Precinct on East Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. A crowd of people cheered “hero” to Dahhan as the car departed.

“I told them I didn’t need the money,” Dahhan said. “I said I could help them with whatever they wanted because I like to help people. I am like this always.”

Deira Figueroa, a New York City resident who was riding her bike in the East Village in the afternoon, said she witnessed James try to run away before being tackled. She said she was unfazed until she heard people yelling “That’s the guy!” and watched as police arrived and helicopters hovered above.

“In New York City, we protect us,” Figueroa said. “This is the wrong neighborhood to be in. We stick together in this neighborhood. Everybody knows each other.”

Two uniformed police officers stand next to each other between two rows of cars.
Police stand on East 5th Street between Second and Third Avenues as law enforcement escorts Frank James into a police vehicle. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

James had reportedly been arrested nine times in New York and three times in New Jersey prior to the shooting, mostly for misdemeanors. The police found his belongings and keys to a U-Haul van parked near the Kings Highway subway station.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the arrest of James via Zoom at a press conference inside the precinct. Although bystanders and witnesses praised Dahhan for catching James, Adams made no mention of Dahhan or East Village residents in his speech.

“My fellow New Yorkers, we got him,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a press conference following the arrest. “I cannot thank the men and women of the New York City Police Department enough.”


Contact Kristian Burt at [email protected], Rachel Cohen at [email protected] and Abby Wilson at [email protected].