NEW YORK—A gunman in a gas mask and an orange construction vest tossed smoke bombs on a crowded northbound N train in Brooklyn and opened fire early Tuesday, wounding 13 people, police sources said.
The gunman remained at large.
The mayhem began just before 8:30 a.m. on the N/R line going through Sunset Park. The gunman was sitting quietly in the train’s second car before he started lighting smoke bombs and pulling a gun, witnesses said.
“I saw the guy in orange,” a 21-year-old college student on the train who wished not to be named told the New York Daily News. “He was sitting there in the back of the car. I didn’t quite pay attention. He was just sitting there and there was luggage with him and he was just holding it next to him. There was a big bang sound and people got scared and there were people laying down and running off and I just followed them.
“I was running, and then laying there, I heard people scream that they got hurt and they need help,” she said.
A 51-year-old man in the same train car described straphangers running for their lives.
“It happened in my car. My clothes smell like gunpowder, man,” he said. “People piled on me trying to get away from the guy who was in the back of the car.”
The number of people shot was unclear. Law enforcement sources said as few as five or as many as 10 had been shot.
When the train reached the 36th Street stop, the doors opened and the wounded commuters collapsed on the platform, terrifying people waiting for the train.
“Either shots or a bomb went off at 36th Street,” witness Roddy Broke wrote on Twitter. “Scariest moment of my life, man.”
A cellphone video seen by the Daily News shows smoke pouring out of the subway car at the 36th Street station as the train doors open.
Dozens of people run out of the train car, coughing and gagging from the smoke. A few moments later, at least two people limp out of the smoke-filled train car. At least one falls to the ground, bleeding.
Other witnesses reported seeing wounded people, all adults, coming out of the 36th Street station.
“I was heading into 36th Street Station in Brooklyn when a young guy who was bleeding from the legs said people were injured and bleeding,” witness Conrad Aderer said.
Many victims and witnesses jumped onto an R train waiting at the station, which took them to 25th St.
Witnesses called 911 about an explosion, with multiple people either shot or hit by shrapnel at both the 36th Street and 25th Street stops, according to preliminary reports.
One of the victims was unconscious and in critical condition, police said.
The gunman was described as wearing a gas mask and an orange construction vest — possibly an MTA vest. He was also carrying construction tools.
When firefighters arrived at the 36th Street station, they found “multiple people shot” and several undetonated smoke bombs in the train, an FDNY source said.
The bombs were determined to be inert.
“There are NO active explosive devices at this time,” the NYPD said on Twitter.
Officers from all over the city, as well as NYPD Aviation units have been called in to help investigate and secure the area. Fourth Avenue between 25th and 36th streets have been shut down.
The MTA shut down D/N/R service through most of Brooklyn and parts of Manhattan, a spokesman said. Major delays on all B/D/F/N/Q/R and W trains were expected throughout Brooklyn as a result.
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