Brave survivor of NYC subway shooting was shot while trying to save pregnant woman

Brave survivor of NYC subway shooting was shot while trying to save pregnant woman

The survivors of Tuesday morning's subway attack in Brooklyn have described how they sat next to the gunman as he pulled an ax and gun from his duffel bag before he threw a smoke grenade and fired 33 shots, leaving 10 people injured with bullet wounds.

A witness said the suspect said 'Oops, my bad', as he opened one of his gas tanks and filled the subway car with smoke when it was between stations, before he pulled out his weapons and opened fire.

A multi-state manhunt is now underway for Frank James, 62, who is a 'person of interest' in the attack, with police offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Police said the keys found at the crime scene belong to an abandoned U-Haul truck in Brooklyn that was rented by James and the suspect also made 'concerning' threats against New York City Mayor Eric James and railed against the city's homelessness crisis in social media posts.

Benkada says he stopped to help a pregnant woman but couldn't make much sense of the scene as he was distracted and listening to music like he would during any commute.

Hourari Benkada (wearing red hoodie) , 27, sat next to the man with a duffe bag and MTA vest before Tuesday's subway attack.

Passenger Fitim Gjeloshi said he remembers the harrowing moment the gunman, who is still at large, decided to fill the subway carriage with smoke before opening fire.

'I looked him, and I thought to myself he was talking to himself for a while, so I looked at him, and I was like, 'This guy must be on drugs',' he told the New York Post.

'When [the train] was about to hit 36th street, we stopped for 5 minutes. He takes out a gas mask from one of his little luggage[s]. He opened one of his gas tanks, and he said, 'Oops, my bad'. He pulls out an ax, he drops it, he takes a gun out, he starts shooting.'

'One guy gets shot right next to me. He says, "Help! Help!",' Gjeloshi said. 'I tell some person to help him out, cover the blood for him. I jump over, I bang the door and I kicked it with my leg.'

NYPD are hunting for Frank James, described as a 'person of interest' in the shooting. No suspects have been named as of yet.

Terrified passengers tried to get out of the carriage where the gunman was shooting passengers, but the door was locked. When the train pulled into 36th Street station in Sunset Park, injured passengers were seen laying on the floor that was streaked with blood as the gunman fled.

At least 29 people were injured in the attack, but no casualties have been reported. Police said 10 people were struck directly by gunfire, five of them hospitalized in a critical but stable condition, while 13 others suffered respiratory distress or were otherwise injured in the crush of frantic passengers fleeing the smoke-filled subway car.

Hourari Benkada, 27, another survivor of the shooting who is recovering in the hospital after being shot in the knee, said he sat right next to the gunman who went to shoot him and nine others.

Benkada is 'shocked' and 'shaky' and doesn't know if he can ever again ride the subway, which has seen a rise in crime in recent months.

'I was on 59th street on the R train transferring to the N train on 59th, so it was the first car, last seats.

'I'm not really paying attention to that, so I just walk in. I sat down and the guy is right next to me, and all you see is a black smoke bomb going off and then people bum-rushing to the back,' Benkada told CNN's John Berman.

He stopped to help a pregnant woman and was pushed by the panicked crowd. He was shot behind his right knee, but doctors expect him to walk on his own after several weeks on crutches.'