Ten people were shot on Tuesday morning inside a subway train in Brooklyn, New York, after a suspect put on a gas mask, set off a smoke canister then began shooting at commuters, city officials said.
Sixteen people were injured in the incident, 10 by gunfire, New York Fire Department Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a briefing, attributing the other injuries to smoke inhalation, shrapnel or panic.
Five of the gunshot victims were in critical but stable condition, but there were no life-threatening injuries, officials said.
The attacker fired a handgun, and fled the scene. Police officials called on the public to contact them with any photos, videos or other information that could shed more light on the incident or lead them to the suspect.
He said it began as the N train pulled out of the 59th street station.
Foote-Smith said he saw white smoke billow in the adjoining train car and heard loud bangs.
“We crowded to the end of the car,” he said. “It was just a really scary moment for everyone.”
He said the train stopped in the tunnel, then travelled into the 36th street station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighbourhood where the conductor told passengers to get onto an adjoining R train. He and others, including some who were injured took that train to 25th street, where emergency personnel tended to the wounded, he said.
After initial reports that undetonated devices had been found at the scene, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) tweeted there were no active explosive devices at the station.
Police were searching for a suspect, described as a Black man wearing a green construction vest and a grey hooded sweatshirt.
Video from the scene showed people tending to bloodied passengers lying on the floor of the station.
Other videos of the immediate aftermath showed smoke coming from opening doors of a train car as it pulled into the 36th street station.
Moneycentral gathered that hundreds of police officers were on the scene in the hour after the attack “actively” searching for the attacker.
“Officers are actually going through the tracks, walking in the tracks, looking potentially for the shooter or looking for fragments of bullets, as well,” Elizondo told reporters. “This is going to be an ongoing investigation, for many hours, at least initially, not only looking for the shooter but also gathering evidence.”
More than a dozen police and fire vehicles with blue and red lights flashing were on the street outside the station, and federal officials from the FBI and other agencies joined them as the morning wore on.
“There’s going to be a collaborative approach” to the investigation among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, retired NYPD lieutenant Darrin Porcher told Al Jazeera. NYPD detectives will be working with members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), he said.
Investigators will be seeking to assemble video of the suspect entering and leaving the subway system and will seek to determine the potential source of any smoke devices recovered at the scene, Porchin said.
Trains in and out of the station were stopped, causing major transport delays. Schools in the area were put on lockdown, with students sheltering in place.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in isolation after a positive COVID-19 test, issued a video statement thanking those who responded at the scene and calling on the public to contact law enforcement if they have any information connected to the attack.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident.
Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, was also monitoring the situation, his spokesman said.
Gun violence is a continuing issue in the US. There have been 131 mass shootings in the US – including this one – and more than 5,000 people killed in shootings nationwide so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a data-tracking group.