Suspect in Brooklyn Underground Shooting Still Free: Live Updates

credit…Dakota Santiago for the New York Times

Frank R.’s sister. James, the 62-year-old man suspected by police of opening fire in a crowded subway car on Tuesday, said in an interview Wednesday that her brother “has been alone all his life.” And that she had little contact with him.

The nurse, Catherine James Robinson, confirmed several details about her brother, including that he was born in the Bronx in 1959, that he was 62, and that he often moved from city to city, and stayed nowhere too long.

But in a brief phone interview she said she only spoke to her brother occasionally on the phone, and that she did not know what he was doing for work. They did not see each other face to face for a long time.

Still, she said she was “surprised” to see him called as a shooting suspect on Tuesday.

“I do not think he will do anything like that,” she said. “It is not in his nature to do such a thing.”

When asked if her brother had sought psychiatric treatment, Ms. Robinson said he was not mentally ill, and he listened to the offer. “There were a lot of things that went through our lives,” she said.

She mentioned that Mr. James has appeared on podcasts and on YouTube, ostensibly referring to the suspect’s prolific posts on social media.

She said the last time she spoke to her brother on the phone was after the death of their younger sister, Barbara Jean Gray, from a heart attack several years earlier.

And she said Mr James did not fit the description the police released on Tuesday about the suspect: a 5-foot-5-inch man, and heavy. She said her brother was over a meter and a half tall and about 300 pounds, and that he had a bad back.

Police were unlucky to track down Mr. James. But he left behind a lot of evidence, including in videos he posted to YouTube and Facebook.

In the videos, between jealous quarrels lightly related to current events, Mr. James described cross-country travel in the weeks leading up to the attack – a schedule that seems to have ended near the day of the shooting.

In a video released on March 18, Mr. James said he picked up a Panska car and planned to leave Milwaukee the next day. Two days later, while filming a video from the road, he explained that he had packed his apartment, emptied the warehouse and left early for a trip to Philadelphia, where he plans to move. He takes a picture of himself from the rented van and says he is leaving Wisconsin, where he had at least one address.

“On the trip I just think because I’m going back to the danger zone, so to speak, and it’s a lot of negative thoughts, of course, because I do suffer – I have a bad case of post-trauma stress from all the things I went through,” he said in the video.

credit…Through the New York Police Department

He stopped for an overnight stay in Fort Wayne, India, then said he would arrive in Philadelphia by Tuesday. He said he would stop in a town outside of Pittsburgh, then in Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Mr. James said in that video that he plans to spend six days at a hotel, and then move on to a short-term rental, which he called Airbnb. An Airbnb spokesman, Christopher Nolte, said the company had investigated and confirmed that “there are no Airbnb accounts or bookings related to the identifying information currently available” on Mr James.

Once in Philadelphia, Mr. James said he was going to a lockers facility to store his belongings. He then took a short tour of a hotel room in New Jersey. “All my troubles started in the stinking New Jersey state,” he said, using slander.

By his reckoning, Mr. James had certain housing problems. In a video released on March 27, he said a heater exploded where he was staying and that he was forced to move to another room.

In that video, he said he plans to move to a short-term lease, where he plans to be until April 15. But in a video three days later, he toured a short-term rental, which he says he moved into. March 29 and plans to call home in the next 15 days. Although it is not clear whether Mr. James counted the day he moved in or not, the day of the shooting, April 12, was 15 days after March 29.

Susan C. Beachy and Kitty Bennett Contributed research.

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