At least 16 people were injured, 10 of them by gunfire, in the subway in Brooklyn during the Tuesday morning rush, officials said, after a man released a canister of smoke, opened fire on an N train and fled.

The search for the gunman was being hampered Tuesday afternoon by the fact that at least one security camera at the 36th Street subway station that might have captured the scene was not operating, Mayor Eric Adams said. There was a “malfunction with the camera system at that particular station,” Mr. Adams told WCBS 880 radio.

At around 8:24 a.m., as the train pulled into the station, in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the man, who was wearing a construction vest, put on a gas mask before firing shots that hit people on the train and the nearby platform, said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell.

The shooting set off panic and chaos aboard the train. It came as the city was already struggling to cope with both a rise in shootings citywide and an increase in crime and disorder in the subway that has scared commuters from returning to a transit system that saw ridership plummet during the pandemic.

As the train doors opened, sending smoke billowing through the station, fearful riders fled, many of them hurrying onto an R train that happened to be sitting across the platform. Subway seats and cars were streaked with blood as people called for help.

Credit…Armen Armenian, via Reuters

A senior law enforcement official said that a gun had been found inside the subway station and that the gunman had driven a rented U-Haul van. The authorities have not released a suspect’s name, nor a motive for the attack. But another high-ranking police official said that the attack appeared to have been planned and showed no signs of having stemmed from something spontaneous like a dispute on the train.

Mr. Adams, a former police captain, declined on Tuesday to reveal more about the search for the gunman. “This is a very sensitive moment,” he said. “We want to continue to keep those tips close to our vest to make sure that we’re not tipping off the person we’re trying to locate.”

The Fire Department said that five victims were in critical condition, but none of them were believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries.

John Butsikares, 15, a freshman at Brooklyn Technical High School, said his ride on a northbound R train from Bay Ridge had been calm — until the train approached 36th Street. When the doors opened, the conductor directed passengers on the platform to rush inside the R.

“I didn’t know what was happening,” he said. “There was just panic.”


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Officials said that at least 16 people were injured after a man released a canister of smoke and opened fire on an N train in Brooklyn.CreditCredit…Dakota Santiago for The New York Times

Jose Echevarria, 50, an electrician headed to work in Manhattan, said he was about to switch from the R to the N when he saw smoke and gunshot flashes on the N and people running off it.

He said he grabbed one young man who had been shot in the leg and was bleeding profusely and helped him onto the R train. “He was so scared,” Mr. Echevarria said. The young man told Mr. Echevarria he had first seen the shooter at the New Utrecht Avenue station, four stops before 36th Street.

At a news briefing, Commissioner Sewell said that the police were seeking a man with a heavy build who had been wearing a green construction vest and gray sweatshirt. She said that no active explosive devices had been found at the scene or on trains.

Patrick Berry, 41, said he was waiting at the 25th Street station, one stop north, when an R train arrived at around 8:30 a.m. He and his 3-year-old daughter boarded, but the train didn’t move.

“Then suddenly, from the front of the train, I heard people screaming, ‘Run, run, run! Go, go, go!’ And then all these people came sprinting past our car, and I just felt like, ‘Oh my god, this is a stampede,’” Mr. Berry said. “People started pushing out from behind. So I grabbed my daughter, and we ran too.”

Toward the front of the train, three victims were being attended to by bystanders. A uniformed police officer approached, asking passengers to call 911 because his radio was not working. One teenager, who identified himself as Fitim, had a hole in his track pants that he said came from a bullet.

Around the 36th Street station, dozens of police vehicles with flashing lights clogged the streets and helicopters flew overhead.

“We saw an ambulance coming out with a stretcher with a person on it,” said Silvana Guerrero, 20, who works at nearby Sunset Bagels Cafe & Grill. “Their leg was injured — I’m not sure exactly what went on or what was going on. And then, we saw after that, two ambulances coming out, with two people, like, hopping on one leg.”

Fifteen people were treated at hospitals for injuries including gunshot wounds and smoke inhalation: eight at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, five at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, and three at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, the hospitals said.

Reporting was contributed by Jonah E. Bromwich, Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Joseph Goldstein, Andrew Hinderaker, Sadef Ali Kully, Ana Ley, Chelsia Rose Marcius and William K. Rashbaum.

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