MTA Inspector General report reveals new details in Brooklyn subway shooting

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Thursday, December 15, 2022
MTA Inspector General report reveals new details in subway shooting
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New report from the MTA Inspector General reveals new details in the mass shooting on a subway N train car in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. N.J. Burkett has the story.

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A report from the Office of the MTA Inspector General has revealed new details in the mass shooting on a subway car in Brooklyn earlier this year.

The report found that surveillance cameras in the 36th Street subway station had been broken for four days prior to the April attack.

Suspected shooter Frank James is accused of setting off smoke bombs and shooting 10 people on the packed N train.

None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, and authorities said a magazine that jammed in the gun may have saved lives.

The investigation also found the surveillance camera outage was not intentional, but the cameras were not fixed due to limited staffing and inadequate training.

Other cameras in the subway system helped police track down the suspected shooter, however, the report says the outage at that specific station was due to maintenance and communication issues.

"This is about maintenance. Investment in technology is critical but without a matching commitment to maintenance, the gains from the investment are fleeting," said Acting Inspector General Elizabeth Keating. "The staffing shortfall in maintenance positions is real and a much broader problem impacting NYC Transit operations."

In response to the report, NYC Transit officials say they have taken steps to address the concerns raised during the inquiry.

According to NYC Transit, they have already implemented a formal, reporting protocol for maintenance issues. NYC Transit has also begun to transition to a software system that better tracks maintenance and generates work orders.

An MTA spokesperson released the following statement:

"What's clear from this report is that the extraordinary redundancy built into our network means that images are always available from multiple cameras following an incident. Investigators rapidly get what they need from NYCT's camera network even when a minimal number of cameras is temporarily offline. The Inspector General confirmed today what the NYPD has said for years: MTA cameras are a highly reliable source of quality images, deterring crimes and bringing criminals to justice."

New York City Transit Authority President Rich Davey said that it's redundancy that matters and having more cameras in the system makes the entire network more reliable.

"I always expect something is going to be down and so having redundancies in security has been a strategy and, in this instance, worked," he said.

But the MTA's Inspector General concluded that technological innovations are only as good as the protocols in place to maintain them.

RELATED | Prosecutors ask judge to reject attempt by suspect to dismiss indictment in subway shooting

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