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NYC Painter Helped Police Spot the Brooklyn Subway Shooter

“I was looking at him as if I was drawing him.”

New York police have arrested Frank James, 62, the alleged subway shooter who opened fire on a busy N train in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning, injuring 23 as a result. Several people have been attributed as to first spotting the shooter, including a 21-year-old security camera technician, Zach Tahhan, along with his manager, Francisco Puebla, of the Saifee hardware store on First Avenue at Seventh Street.

However, several reports by The New York Times and Artnet News suggests that a NYC painter by the name of Lee Vasu may have actually been the first to call the police after recognizing James while eating lunch at Cafe Mogador on St. Marks Place with his family. “I was like: ‘What the hell?’” said Vasu in an interview with Artnet News, adding, “I told my wife, ‘The subway shooter is right behind us. Go fast. Push the baby. No time for argument. Go.’”

Just prior, Vasu, who runs Dacia Gallery on East 11th Street, recalled that he could hear the suspect mumbling “Fuck the FBI. Fuck the FBI” and proceeded in tipping the nearby cop who was posted on the corner of First Avenue.

“I was looking at him as if I was drawing him,” Vasu said. “As an artist, you study every facial feature really well. I looked at him for quite a while and then half an hour later, there he was. You can’t escape an artist in the East Village,” he added.

Although there is already a #ThankYouZack hashtag trending on social media, these reports make it hard to determine who can be attributed to first spotting the suspect, which comes with a $50,000 USD reward. Nonetheless, the subway shooter tied to the horrific events in Brooklyn has been taken into custody, according to a press conference by NYC mayor Eric Adams.

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