The Brooklyn shooting suspect documented his trips to New York in YouTube videos
By Paul P. Murphy and Aileen Graef, CNN
Brooklyn Subway the suspect in shooting Frank James documented his journey from Wisconsin to the northeast on a series of YouTube videos posted in recent weeks.
James, who was arrested and charged Wednesday afternoon in connection with the shooting, was linked to a series of videos posted on a YouTube channel that has since been deleted.
A spokesperson for the platform explained that they did so in accordance with its “creator accountability guidelines”.
CNN was able to analyze videos before they are dismantled. They include rambling speech filled with racist and misogynistic language, as well as references to violence.
In a video uploaded March 20, James said he left Milwaukee — authorities said he was linked to addresses in Wisconsin — and was staying overnight at a hotel in Fort Wayne, in Indiana.
“Just on the drive, I’m just thinking because I’m going back into the danger zone so to speak,” he said in this video. “You know, of course it triggers a lot of negative thoughts because I’m in pain, I have a severe case of post-traumatic stress after the shit I’ve been through for all these f**king years man.”
James said he was carrying all of his stuff in the van and would store some of it in a storage unit in the Philadelphia area. Although James said Philadelphia was his final destination, he said the Penske truck he rented was to be dropped off in Newark, New Jersey.
CNN reached out to Penske, who didn’t confirm James rented a van, but said they contacted the FBI to help with their investigation.
After the night in Fort Wayne, James continued east and drove to Pittsburgh, where he said in a video uploaded March 21 that he was staying at a hotel near Pittsburgh International Airport. .
The following night, in another video, James said he had secured a hotel near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
In this video, he is seen drinking whiskey and later he begins to show signs of intoxication. Towards the end of the video, he begins to articulate his words and at one point he says he is falling asleep.
He said he recently quit drinking because it gave him “the jolt”.
Around March 25, James uploaded a video claiming he had been to the Philadelphia area. It is not known where James was between March 22 and March 25 based on the videos.
In this March 25 video, James said he was staying at a Best Western hotel in Bordentown, New Jersey. He also gave his room number and a little tour of the room.
James is also seen drinking in this video.
“Okay, so I tried to get high dragging Jim Beam a little earlier to make this video,” he said. “I want to get high to do this video because I felt like I couldn’t really – I seem to do my best when I’m high.”
James also said he was last in New York “a few years ago.
In the video, James also mentions that he would be staying at the hotel until March 28, when he would move to other accommodations in Philadelphia.
The videos have since been removed by YouTube.
CNN has confirmed that James rented a short-term rental apartment on West Ontario Street in Philadelphia. A neighbor identified James to CNN, saying James was at the apartment last week, seen pulling boxes out of a UHaul truck.
The neighbor also told CNN that law enforcement recently searched the apartment.
In an unsealed criminal complaint after James’ arrest, prosecutors alleged that James actually rented an apartment and storage unit in Philadelphia. Records from ride-sharing operator Lyft show he visited the facility on April 11 at 6:17 p.m., according to the complaint.
These records also indicate that James ordered around 21 rides to and from the apartment between March 28 and April 10. CNN has reached out to the Philadelphia apartment management company for comment, but has yet to hear back.
According to the complaint, records from the apartment management company indicate that James rented the apartment for at least 15 days.
James did not mention any plans to visit the New York area or convey any concrete plans that he was planning a shoot in the videos reviewed by CNN.
CNN previously reported that on April 6, James made a reservation to pick up a U-Haul van on April 11 in Philadelphia, according to transaction documentation.
At 4 a.m. Tuesday, just hours before the attack, James drove the U-Haul van to Brooklyn from Staten Island across the Verrazano Bridge, CNN reported.
James was taken into custody in Manhattan’s East Village on Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m.
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CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.