Subway ride-along: MTA CEO demands more police presence in transit system after mass shooting

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The head of the MTA is demanding a higher police presence in the New York City subway system after a terrifying mass shooting on Tuesday.

Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett interviewed MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber on what needs to be done.

"It's been a tough week," Lieber said.

Lieber says he gets it. That he understands the anxiety, even the fear over crime underground.

"You have to deal with the fact that a maniac came into the sacred public space that we all share, that makes New York possible, and he attacked it," he said.

In an Eyewitness News interview, Lieber admitted that Tuesday's mass shooting, that injured more than two-dozen people and terrorized many more, was not an isolated incident.

EMBED More News Videos

NJ Burkett rides along with MTA CEO Janno Lieber to discuss the Brooklyn subway mass shooting and what needs to be done to protest riders.



"We had a series of things that were, you know, very high visibility incidents with our customers," he said. "A mass shooting is different, and I expect people to react differently. We are reacting differently."

He says the NYPD can and should be doing more.

"I am saying to the city, I need to see cops on the platform. I need to see cops on the train. I need to see people start intervening and opening backpacks," Lieber said. "This fellow, you know, had a lot of material with him. So, we really do want to have a more aggressive deployment by my friends in the NYPD."

It was an MTA surveillance camera that captured Frank R. James entering the subway on Tuesday morning.

But other cameras, including those where the attack took place, were not transmitting.

ALSO READ | Man who spotted subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, flagged down officers speaks out
EMBED More News Videos

The man who identified alleged Brooklyn subway shooter Frank R. James on the street and alerted police officers of his presence is speaking out. Naveen Dhaliwal spoke to him.



On Thursday, the NYPD released a statement saying that at the time of Tuesday's attack, "cameras were out at three stations due to a technical issue."

Lieber has ordered an internal review to determine how many are not functional at any given time.

"In this case, there was a lot of there was a lot of video available and the police used all of it," Lieber said.

He believes a sharper focus on quality-of-life violations and crimes like fare-beating will make the subways safer, even if they would not have prevented Tuesday's attack.

"It's been slow in evolving and I'm hoping that the PD - part of what they're going to do in reaction to this awful event is to have that happen. And I'm counting on the NYPD to really attack those problems. I think they will under Mayor Adams," Lieber said.

When asked if he thought Tuesday's incident was preventable, Lieber responded:

"I'm not a criminal justice expert. All I can say is, it happened, and we have to make the subway system safer and make people feel safer."


----------
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.