A look at acts of public violence in NYC over past 40 years

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A passenger looks out onto the platform while riding a northbound train in 36th Street subway station where a shooting attack occurred the previous day during the morning commute, Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in New York. Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday that officials were now seeking 62-year-old Frank R. James as a suspect. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK – The shooting this week of 10 people by a man who deployed smoke grenades and fired at least 33 shots in a commuter-packed Brooklyn subway car was hardly the first time New Yorkers have grappled with an act of violence.

Over the past 40 years, New York has endured multiple subway and train shootings, bombing attempts, a vehicular attack on pedestrians and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

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The suspect in the latest assault was taken into custody Wednesday, about 30 hours after the shooting. The attack left five victims in critical condition and put residents of the nation’s most populous city on edge

A look at some of the attacks in the city over the past four decades:



Thirty-eight years ago, a man shot four Black teens on the 2 train in Manhattan at a time of widespread crime in the city, sparking a nationwide debate on racism, gun control, and safety.

Bernhard Goetz said he shot the teens because they were attempting to rob him. The teens had sharpened screwdrivers and asked Goetz for $5. Goetz was charged with attempting to murder the four teens with an unlicensed firearm.

In 1987, Goetz was cleared of the attempted murder charge and spent less than a year in jail for a weapons conviction.

Darrell Cabey, one of the young men shot on the subway, was left paralyzed and suffered brain damage after the shooting. Several years later, he was awarded $43 million in a lawsuit against Goetz. The other three victims recovered from their wounds.



In 1993, a man opened fire on the Long Island Rail Road, killing six people and injuring 19 others.

Passengers charged at shooter Colin Ferguson and held him down as the train pulled into a station.

Ferguson refused an insanity plea and represented himself at his 1995 trial. Under cross-examination, witnesses answered Ferguson's questions by implicating him, telling Ferguson, “I saw you shoot me.”

Ferguson was convicted on six murder charges and 19 attempted murder charges. He was acquitted of 25 counts of civil rights violations on charges that accused Ferguson, who was Black, of targeting the victims based on their race. The people killed and injured were of multiple races.



In 2016, a pressure cooker device connected to a cellphone exploded in a Manhattan neighborhood, injuring 30 people. The Chelsea bombing triggered a two-day manhunt that came to a head in a shootout in New Jersey. The convicted bomber, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, is now serving a life sentence.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio said the attack was “an intentional act” and initially called it terrorist-related. During Rahimi's trial, prosecutors said he attempted to radicalize prisoners after his arrest with terrorist propaganda from speeches and lectures by al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011.



In 2017, a man used Christmas lights, matches and a nine-volt battery to ignite a pipe bomb under a Times Square subway station. But the bomb, which was strapped to the bomber's chest, failed to launch. It injured three people and severely burned the bomber.

Akayed Ullah was sentenced to life in prison. Ullah said he was not motivated by religious extremism, but by anger sparked by former President Donald Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric. Authorities said Ullah was radicalized online by Islamic State group extremists.



In 2017, a New Jersey man allegedly drove a truck on Halloween down a bicycle path along the Hudson River in Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring numerous others.

The truck driver, Sayfullo Saipov, was shot and wounded by police after he reportedly smashed into a school bus and then ran down the highway with a paintball gun while shouting “Allahu akbar.”

He was charged with terrorism and the murder of eight civilians.

Saipov is currently in jail awaiting trial, which has been delayed since 2019.



In 2019, a West Virginia man allegedly traveled to the city to plant two pressure-cooker type devices in lower Manhattan's Fulton Street subway station, triggering an evacuation in one of the city's busiest stations and affecting thousands of commuters.

New York City police opened another investigation after a third device was found in the nearby Chelsea neighborhood.

Larry Kenton Griffin was arrested and charged with placing a false bomb.

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