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No charges in NYC subway shooting; Brooklyn DA cites "evidence of self-defense"

NYPD looking for woman it says was involved in Brooklyn subway shooting
NYPD looking for woman it says was involved in Brooklyn subway shooting 02:30

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn district attorney said Friday he will not be filing any criminal charges right now against the shooter in Thursday's subway shooting due to self-defense.

The chaotic scene happened right during the evening rush and unfolded on videos posted across social media.

On Friday, the NYPD responded to the terror witnessed on board.

Watch the latest NYPD update

Watch NYPD update on investigation into Brooklyn subway shooting 11:24

The news briefing that took place in the afternoon made clear what the investigation had concluded at the moment -- that the passengers of the train had to act and disarm an attacker with a gun, including the man who police say shot the attacker with it.

A few hours later, the DA's office followed suit.

Cellphone video obtained by CBS New York of the inside the moving A train shows the terrifying situation as it escalated during Thursday afternoon's rush hour. It left a 36-year-old man in critical condition after being shot in the head. However, on Friday afternoon, the DA's office said it would not be charging the man who pulled the trigger, saying in a statement, "Evidence of self-defense precludes us from filing any criminal charges."

"It was incredible what people from the community did yesterday, people who tried to intervene," NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said.

Maddrey and NYPD officials say the 36-year-old man aggressively approached a 32-year-old man, eventually pulling out a gun that was wrestled away. Police say the 32-year-old then shot the alleged attacker in the head with his own gun.

Police said they also want to talk to a woman who had a sharp object or knife and stabbed the 36-year-old man during the confrontation. She was apparently traveling with the 32-year-old man, CBS New York's Lori Bordonaro reported.

Watch Elijah Westbrook's report

Police searching for woman after Brooklyn subway shooting 02:34

Police released video they say shows the attacker entering the subway from the emergency exit before the incident, without paying a fare. During the briefing Friday, NYPD officials centered their focus on that.

"Sometimes people ask why would we do such a big operation for people not paying a $2.90 fare," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said. "We are seeing a small group of people doing these operations that don't pay their fare that are recidivists, that have warrants."

The witness who shot the dramatic cellphone video describes to CBS New York the terrifying moments on board the moving train.

"I see blood coming out when they're on top of each other," the woman named Sherri said. "He pulled out the gun, and I said, 'It's time to go.'"

Watch the initial briefing on the investigation

NYPD update on Brooklyn subway shooting 08:42

Other New Yorkers chimed in on the violence underground.

"National Guard out on the subway and, meanwhile, you know, this is happening," Molly Devries said.

"I'm a New Yorker. I've been here my whole life, so I know the subway culture," Aaron Mealy said. "If an altercation happens on the subway, you can't get off until the next stop, so it's best to de-escalate the situation."

"We can't say, 'Oh, this happened on the subway, the subway is dangerous.' No, there's a bigger issue, and if we don't address those issues it's gonna keep happening, whether it's on a bus or the street," Nysheva Starr said.

CBS New York asked Mayor Eric Adams about the shooting at an event on Friday morning.

"These random acts of violence send the wrong message. I'm really pleased with the police department being there to apprehend and make sure other people are not injured," he said.

Over the last several weeks, the mayor and Gov. Kathy Hochul have both made a point to stress the importance, not of the numbers, of whether people feel safe, which is part of the reason why the National Guard was called in. But during Friday's news briefing, Deputy Commissioner Daughtry pointed out that while many saw what happened Thursday, millions got to their destination safely.

So far this year, there have been eight shooting victims in the transit system. In the same period last year, there was just one. There have also been 17 gun arrests, versus eight last year. 

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