MTA, New York City leadership honor frontline workers from subway shooting; announce Crime Stoppers award

April 18, 2022
Transit workers David Artis, Raven Haynes, Joseph Franchi, Dayron Williams and Parla Mejia received proclamations from the city for their heroic actions to get passengers to safety.

A ceremony at New York City’s City Hall honored the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) frontline workers who helped passengers during the Brooklyn subway shooting at Sunset Park.  

Officials attending the ceremony included MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and TWU Local 100 representatives. Transit workers David Artis, Raven Haynes, Joseph Franchi, Dayron Williams and Parla Mejia received proclamations from the city for their heroic actions to get passengers to safety. 

“As long as I'm on this job, I want MTA workers to know we have their backs, and so does the governor.  These quick-thinking and caring train crews and bus operator moved riders to safety and kept them away from a potential threat zone,” said Lieber. “I am also grateful that we have a partner like Eric Adams and his team in city hall. The reason that we are able to breathe a sigh of relief and take this moment to celebrate these amazing MTA workers is because of the work that the NYPD did so quickly to investigate and to locate the suspect, and the mayor’s continuing commitment to visibly policing the subways.”  

“This week New York City showed the entire globe what our city is, and has always been about: courage, heroism, quick-thinking and decisive action,” added Mayor Adams. “As I looked at some of the videos and watched how passengers and employees responded, it clearly showed why this is a special place that we call New York. And most of all, what I saw the most is that we are a community. One community, one city will respond during a moment of tragedy. New Yorkers look out for each other and transit workers, as always, look out for us.”  

TWU Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer and Safety Director Earl Phillips added, “This was an active shooter situation, and conductors and train operators were taking charge, doing what was necessary to get riders out of danger. I want to thank the mayor for honoring the members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 and giving them a little bit of the spotlight, which they richly deserve.”  

The MTA workers also reflected on the incident.  

“I immediately alerted the Rail Control Center of what happened, I told them what I was seeing in the station, opened the doors and thanked God for my partner,” said N Train Operator David Artis. “To the customers that were injured on the platform and stayed, I told them to just stay calm, police and medical are coming on the scene.”  

“My instinct was just to physically get the passengers to safety. My riders were my first concern,” said N Train Conductor Raven Haynes. “As long as I am calm and collected, my passengers will be calm and collected, and because of that I was able to get as many people to safety as possible.”  

“This was a unique and harrowing New York experience,” said R Train Operator Joseph Franchi.  “We unfortunately deal with these situations here in New York City because we are always a target. But fortunately, I was in the position to help in any way possible and I feel fortunate we were able to do whatever we could to help the people of this great city feel safe during a time of terror.”   

“Doing the right thing pays off, and my sole focus was to make sure everyone was good,” said R Train Conductor DayRon Williams. “It makes me feel good about the job that I do, and it makes me want to keep doing the job I do for the MTA. Despite some bad apples who unfortunately ride the trains, for the most part, the subway is safe. We should always be vigilant and if you see something, say something, and we will all be safe because of it.”  

“I was told there was a shooting and that’s when my adrenaline kicked in. That day, I worked from five in the morning until midnight, kept the buses moving,” said Bus Operator Parla Mejia. “My main focus was to get my passengers, especially the children, to safety.”  

Artis and Haynes were the N train crew members who helped get passengers to evacuate the Manhattan-bound N train at 36 St station. Franchi and Williams were operating a Brooklyn-bound R train one station away and stopped the train at 25 St station to ensure the train's riders were not headed into a dangerous situation. 

Mejia helped get New Yorkers away from the scene, operating a B37 bus that took passengers from the 36 St station. 

MTA and partners announce plan for Crime Stoppers Rewards 

MTA and the New York Police Department (NYPD) also announced with its partners, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the New York City Police Foundation, that several members of the public who provided critical information about a suspect in Tuesday’s subway shooting are in line to share a combined $50,000 worth of Crime Stoppers Rewards.  

“The NYPD is a great partner in protecting millions of subway riders every day,” said Lieber. “Witnesses who came forward with tips that helped detectives and federal agents put away the maniac accused of a horrific attack on our city, acted the way we encourage New Yorkers to help each other – see something, say something.” 

After Tuesday morning’s attack on the subway in Brooklyn, the NYPD issued a plea for help in locating a suspect identified by detectives – and several members of the public came forward with timely, accurate information that helped locate and apprehend the alleged shooter, Frank R. James.  

“Thanks to the help of these five good Samaritans, the NYPD was able to do its job and get a dangerous suspect off the streets just hours after his picture was released,” said Mayor Adams. “The bravery of these five individuals are what truly make New York City the greatest city in the world. Thank you to the MTA, the Transport Workers Union Local 100, and the New York City Police Foundation for providing this $50,000 reward.”  

New York Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell added, “The public is who we serve, but they are also often our best partner. We appreciate all of those who responded to our call for information to locate this suspect, including all of those whose tips did not pan out. We urged the public to join us in this effort to find this suspect, and New Yorkers stepped up.”  

NYPD detectives traced the many tips that streamed into the NYPD and constructed a timeline of events leading to Mr. James’s apprehension on Wednesday afternoon in Lower Manhattan. Members of the department’s Detective Bureau identified five individuals whose information contributed directly to the arrest of James – approximately 30 hours after the mass attack.  

Each of the five individuals performed actions that, under the established Crime Stoppers procedures, elevate them to be considered for receiving reward money. The plan is for the combined $50,000 reward – comprised of contributions from the Police Foundation, the MTA and TWU Local 100 – to be split evenly among those identified individuals.  

“Transport Workers Union Local 100 applauds these alert tipsters,” said TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano. “They helped police pinpoint the location of this very dangerous criminal, so he could be taken into custody. We now look forward to prosecutors taking the next step: Ensuring he never has the freedom to walk our streets or ride our subway trains again.”  

“The New York City Police Foundation is proud to have stepped forward with immediate funds to increase the reward and drive more attention to the urgent need to capture the person behind a terrible attack on New Yorkers,” said President and CEO of the New York City Police Foundation, Susan L. Birnbaum.  

The proceeds will flow to those five individuals in line with the standard criteria for distribution of all Crime Stoppers rewards, which is only upon the arrest and indictment of an individual. The Crime Stoppers process affords tipsters anonymity. Federal officials have charged James, 62, with carrying out an attack on a mass transit system, and he has been ordered held without bail after a brief, initial appearance on Thursday in Brooklyn federal court. 

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