Ex-convict was 'afraid to talk' to the 'quiet and moody' NYC gunman

Ex-convict who was in therapy in the Bronx with Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James says he was ‘afraid to talk’ to the ‘quiet and moody’ gunman: Eric Adams says YouTube should have reported his unhinged videos to law enforcement

  • Albert Wilder, 57, attended therapy sessions with Frank James in the Bronx until three months ago and said he was ‘quiet and moody’ and unapproachable
  • James, 62, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with committing a terrorist act on a mass transit system
  • Ten people were shot and 13 more injured in Tuesday’s attack on the subway in the Brooklyn district of Sunset Park
  • James made extensive social media posts where he said he wanted to kill people and ranted about racist American society
  • Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, on Wednesday morning said James’s videos should have been reported by social media companies to law enforcement 

An ex-convict who was in therapy with the Brooklyn subway gunman until three months ago said he was ‘afraid to talk to’ Frank James because of his intense, unfriendly persona, as details emerge of his lengthy criminal history, and the mayor says social media companies should have alerted law enforcement about his violent threats.

James, 62, was arrested on Wednesday after a manhunt across New York City lasting almost 30 hours.

He has been charged with committing a terrorist act on a mass transit system, and will appear in federal court on Thursday.

Bronx-born James, who most recently lived in Milwaukee, is accused of opening fire on a crowded subway on Tuesday morning, hitting 10 people. A further 13 were injured. All are expected to survive, in what officials said was a miracle.

Frank James, 62, is pictured on Wednesday leaving a police precinct in the East Village of Manhattan, shortly after his arrest

Bronx-born James had been on the run for almost 30 hours before he was arrested

James has been charged with committing a terrorist act on a mass transit system

The chaotic scene at the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on Tuesday morning 

The chaos unfolded at 8.30am on Tuesday morning near the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn 

Terrified passengers run off the train at the 36th Street station on Tuesday morning after the shooting on the train 

James was on Tuesday night named and pictured by the NYPD as a ‘person of interest’, and very quickly a picture emerged of a disturbed man with a wild and frequently incoherent list of grievances.

In a video posted the day before the attack, James said he wanted to harm people. 

‘I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die,’ he said. 

James said, in several of the 450 videos he posted to YouTube, that he had PTSD.

He attended group therapy sessions in the Bronx, at Argus Community – a center which offers both residential and outpatient programs to ‘help severely disadvantaged teens and adults to free themselves from poverty and drug abuse,’ according to its website.

Albert Wilder, 57, attended the sessions with James and said he was ‘quiet and moody’.

He told The New York Post he last saw him about three months ago.

‘He was sitting here and he was quiet and moody,’ Wilder said.

‘Y’know, when someone looks like they’re in the middle of something and you afraid to talk to them because they’re upset. That was him.’

Wilder, who attends the sessions as required following his release from prison for unspecified crimes, said James was ‘a street person.’

‘He frequents trains and buses,’ Wilder said.

‘He always between 219th and 230th street in the Bronx when I see him.’

James is pictured in a YouTube video – one of 450 he posted under the name ‘Prophet of Truth88’

On March 1, James posted a YouTube video calling on Eric Adams to do more to combat homelessness on the subway

James also references psychiatric facilities he has attended in the Bronx and in New Jersey, saying the staff failed to help him and ‘made me more dangerous’.

‘Mr Mayor, I’m a victim of your mental health program,’ James said in one lengthy video.

‘I’m 63 now full of hate, full of anger, and full of bitterness.’

On March 1, he raged against the staff of Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services – a psychiatric care facility in New Jersey.

James showed the faces of the staff and managers on the screen behind him, saying: ‘these are the people that was supposed to be helping me. They made me worse.’

He added: ‘They f****** made me worse.

‘They made me more dangerous than I could ever have been.’

He also ranted in his YouTube videos about New York’s homeless, climate change, the war in Ukraine and conspiracy theories about 9/11.

He was deeply resentful about the state of American society and systemic racism, frequently turning to talk about the legacy of slavery and what he saw as the failure of the civil rights movement.

James’s sister, Catherine James Robinson, told The New York Times her brother had ‘been on his own his whole life,’ but angrily denied he was mentally ill.

Asked if he had sought mental health treatment – as he referenced in his YouTube videos – she angrily denied that he was unstable.

‘There was a lot that went on through our lives,’ she said.

She confirmed he was born in the Bronx, and their mother died when he was five years old.

She said she did not know what he did for work, and frequently changed cities.

They hadn’t seen each other in many years, she said, and last spoke on the phone after the death of their younger sister, Barbara Jean Grey, from a heart attack several years prior.

She said she was ‘surprised’ to see him involved in Tuesday’s shooting.

‘I don’t think he would do anything like that,’ she said. ‘That’s not in his nature to do anything like that.’

James’s criminal history dates back to the 1990s.

He has three prior arrests in New Jersey, in 1991, 1992 and 2007, said James Essig, NYPD Chief of Detectives.

He was arrested for trespass, larceny and disorderly conduct, Essig said.

The New York Times reported that one of those arrests was on two counts of making terroristic threats and was eventually convicted of harassment, a lesser charge.

In New York, he has nine prior arrests dating from 1992 to 1998.

He was arrested four times for possession of burglary tools, once for a criminal sex act, twice for theft of service – once on a New Jersey warrant and once for criminal tampering, Essig said.

Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, said that social media networks should have reported James’s videos to law enforcement.

Eric Adams, mayor of New York, told CNN on Wednesday morning that he thought social media companies should have reported James’s videos to law enforcement

With the city’s officials facing questions about why it took so long to find the 62-year-old, who neighbors in Milwaukee said walked with a limp, and why surveillance cameras in the subway weren’t working, Adams tried to shift the blame to YouTube and Facebook for giving James a platform, and failing to report him.

‘We are watching signs around us of those who are leaning toward violent actions and ignoring them,’ Adams told CNN on Wednesday morning.

‘I cannot play a song on a social media channel that belongs to someone else without them identifying that. Why aren’t we identifying these dangerous threats.

‘Why aren’t we being more proactive instead of waiting for this to happen?

‘There is some responsibility, I think, on social media industries and companies.

‘[We] must lean into why we’re watching these postings and these threats every day, and no one is giving an early warning sign to law enforcement.’

YouTube has not responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

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