He saw women screaming and “knocking on the door,” and a man trying to open the subway door, “fighting for his life.”
“Then I knew something was very, very wrong and that was before the shootings took place,” Pot-Smith told ABC Good Morning America.
Ten people were shot dead by an N subway car to Manhattan during a Tuesday morning ride as the train approached the 36th Street subway station in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to New York police.
The gunman – who remained free – wore a gas mask and blew up a smoke tank before pulling out a gun and opening fire, a police source told ABC News.
A total of 29 people suffered injuries.
Pote-Smith said the first disturbance to his ride was “a strong thump, sounding almost like broken glass”.
“Everyone on my train got up and moved quickly towards the concert door, and before I could turn around to see what they were running away from, there were three loud knocks – and it was much closer and much different from that first knock.” he said.
Puta-Smith said he looked at the next subway car and saw a man “knocking on our door, trying to open it with every ounce of force he could – and the door did not move.”
Then smoke began to fill the neighboring car.
“As soon as my eyes adapted to that thick, white smoke that filled the car, I saw faces pressed against the glass of the door of their subway connector. And those were women’s faces and they screamed, they knocked on the door,” he said. . “And once we saw this gentleman knocking on the door because – fighting for his life, so we noticed – so I knew something was very, very wrong and that was before the shootings happened.”
The shots were heard as the train approached 36th Street Station, Pot-Smith said.
“It was three or four quick ‘pop, pop, pop’,” he said, “and everyone on my train knew right away what it was.”
“No one screamed or said anything, just begged the concern to please move this train,” he said. “Eventually he comes out and sees the smoke – and the smoke at this point has completely filled the car. I can not see into [neighboring] “The train car has been and people have been spilled out onto this small platform between the trains and the screams have increased now.”
“This is the moment when the master of our train decides to try to open the subway connector door from our side – after we were frozen in fear for perhaps the longest 30 seconds of our lives – and the door is still stuck.” he said. “Now we need to see how people scream and struggle and try to fight for their lives for something we do not know.”
There were more shots when the train stopped at the station, he said.
“Once the subway doors opened, it’s a sea of people getting off the subway,” he said. “I’ve seen people with gunshot wounds and deadlines pushing people, coughing and choking on smoke.”
In the chaos, he said a carrier had led passengers to another train.
“But my first thought when we got on the train was, is the shooter still with us?” Said Pot-Smith.
Police name shooting suspect – Frank R. James, 62.
James is now considered a wanted fugitive. U.S. marshals joined the search along with New York Police, FBI, ATF and other agencies.
Anyone with information, videos or photos related to the shooting is asked to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Kelly News of ABC News contributed to this report.
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