Brooklyn shooting suspect Frank R. James will appear in court Thursday, but there is confusion and controversy about how he ended up in custody Wednesday, about 30 hours after he allegedly opened fire on a crowded New York subway car and platform.
Police sources told multiple outlets that Mr. James himself called a police tip line to say he was at a McDonald’s in lower Manhattan.
Yet other persons have come forward as heroes, perhaps with an eye on the $50,000 reward offered by the New York Police Department and its CrimeStoppers program.
Zack Dahnan, a 21-year-old security installer from Syria, insisted he was one of the ones who tipped off the police.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is the guy, we need to get him.’ He was walking down the street, I see the car of the police, I said, ‘Yo, this is the guy!’” he said in an impromptu press conference on the street.
He endeared himself with social media users, who feared he would not get a cut of the reward amid reports that Mr. James snitched on himself.
Another bystander, Francisco Puebla, said he spotted Mr. James on the street and flagged down police.
“I went right up to the police car and told the police officer, ‘I just saw the man, the one who did the shooting in Brooklyn,’” Mr. Puebla told CNN.
Police said they gave Mr. James no escape route after the harrowing Tuesday incident that wounded 10 with gunshots and injured 13 others in the ensuing chaos at the 36th Street station. Yet they haven’t detailed who might have played a role in nabbing Mr. James and is entitled to the cash prize.
“The way the reward works is, whomever is first gets the reward, but there were a few times when the reward was split,” said Joseph Giacalone, a former New York City police sergeant and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Mr. Giacalone, who was in charge of the Crimestoppers Unit in New York for a time, said tipsters remain anonymous and receive a special code. The tipster is told to call back the police if the suspect is arrested, at which point they are given a second confirmation code and information on how to collect reward money from the bank.
The tipster is not given the full reward upfront, since that is usually predicated on indictment or conviction, though he or she often receives up to $3,500 for the arrest.
Mr. Giacalone said the sergeant in charge of the reward will present cases to the police foundation and its board, which will arbitrate who played a role in the apprehension and deserves a reward.