Le Pays De France - Suspect at large as Brooklyn subway shooting injures 16

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Suspect at large as Brooklyn subway shooting injures 16
Suspect at large as Brooklyn subway shooting injures 16 / Photo: © AFP

Suspect at large as Brooklyn subway shooting injures 16

A rush-hour shooting in the Brooklyn subway in New York injured at least 16 people and triggered scenes of chaos Tuesday, as wounded and panicked passengers fled a smoke-filled train onto the platform.

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Ambulances lined the street outside the 36th Street subway station, where a New York police spokeswoman told AFP officers responded to a 911 call of a person shot at 8:27 am (1227 GMT).

The incident sparked a massive police response, with the suspect still at large several hours laters.

According to multiple media reports, police were hunting for a man in a gas mask and orange construction vest, who NBC said may have tossed a smoke canister before the shooting.

The incident began as the train was "inching" towards the 36th Street platform, one passenger, Yav Montano, told CNN. He said smoke began filling the car he was in.

"There's a lot of blood on the floor," he said. "In the moment, I did not think that it was a shooting because it sounded like fireworks."

Passengers crowded towards the front of the car, Montano said, but the door to the next car was locked.

"There were people in that other car that saw what was happening. And they tried to open the door, but they couldn't," he said.

Unverified video footage circulating on social media appeared to show the smoke-filled train pulling into the 36th Street station, and passengers rushing off the carriage, some apparently injured.

A separate video posted on Instagram appeared to show passengers tending to bloodied victims lying on a smoky station platform.

Those images, also unverified, showed subway staff shepherding panicked passengers, some still clutching their morning coffee cups, off the platform and into the carriages of a stationary train.

An unidentified person can be heard saying that a fire had been set in the train car, and that he saw "at least eight people" shot.

- Witness urged to contact police -

The city's fire department gave a toll of 16 injuries, while ABC News quoted police sources as saying at least five people were shot in the incident

The police department tweeted that there were "NO active explosive devices at this time," while the fire department told AFP that "several undetonated devices" had been recovered from the scene.

"Please stay clear of the area" the NYPD tweeted, urging witnesses to contact a police tip line with any information.

The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident and was in communication with New York officials.

New York governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that first responders were on the scene and promised regular updates as the investigation unfolds.

Mass casualty shootings happen with relative frequency in the United States, where firearms are involved in approximately 40,000 deaths a year, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

Shootings in New York City have risen this year, and the uptick in violent gun crime has been a central focus for Mayor Eric Adams since he took office in January. Through April 3, shooting incidents rose to 296 from 260 during the same period last year, according to police statistics.

The incident came just a day after Biden announced new gun control measures, increasing restrictions on so-called "ghost guns", the difficult-to-trace weapons that can be assembled at home.

Lax gun laws and a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms have repeatedly stymied attempts to clamp down on the number of weapons in circulation, despite greater controls being favored by the majority of Americans.

Three-quarters of all homicides in the United States are committed with guns, and the number of pistols, revolvers and other firearms sold continues to rise.