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Brooklyn shooting suspect documented his travels to New York in YouTube videos

By Paul P. Murphy and Aileen Graef, CNN

Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James documented his travel from Wisconsin to the Northeast over a series of YouTube videos posted in recent weeks.

James, who was arrested and charged Wednesday afternoon in connection with the shooting, has been linked to a series of videos posted to a YouTube channel that has since been removed.

A spokesperson for the platform explained that they did so in accordance with its “creator responsibility guidelines.”

CNN was able to analyze the videos before they were taken down. They include rambling speeches filled with racist and misogynistic language, as well as references to violence.

In a video uploaded on March 20, James said that he had left Milwaukee — authorities have said he is associated with addresses in Wisconsin — and was spending the night in a Fort Wayne, Indiana, hotel.

“Just on the drive man I’m just thinking because I’m heading back into the danger zone so to speak,” he said in that video. “You know, it is triggering a lot of negative thoughts of course because I do suffer, I have a bad severe case of post-traumatic stress after the sh*t I’ve been through all the f**king years man.”

James indicated that he was transporting all his belongings in the van and that he would be storing some of them in a Philadelphia-area storage unit. Although James said that Philadelphia was his final destination, he said that the Penske truck he rented needed to be dropped off in Newark, New Jersey.

CNN reached out to Penske, who would not confirm that James rented a van, but did say they had reached out to the FBI to assist in their investigation.

After the night in Fort Wayne, James continued east and made his way to Pittsburgh, where he said in a video uploaded on March 21 that he was staying in a hotel near the Pittsburgh International Airport.

The next night, in another video, James said that he had gotten a hotel near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In that video, he is seen drinking whiskey and later, begins to show signs of intoxication. Toward the end of the video, he begins slurring his words and at one point, he says he is falling asleep.

He said that he had recently stopped drinking because it gave him “the shakes.”

Around March 25, James uploaded a video claiming that he had made it to the Philadelphia area. It’s unclear where James was between March 22 and March 25 based on the videos.

In that March 25 video, James said he was staying in a Best Western hotel in Bordentown, New Jersey. He also gave his room number and a small tour of the room.

James is also seen drinking in that video.

“Alright, so I tried to get high by dragging some Jim Beam a little earlier to make this video,” he said. “Want to be high to make this video because I felt that I couldn’t really — I seem to do my best work when I’m high.”

James also said that he was last in New York “a few years ago.

In the video, James also mentions that he would be staying in the hotel until March 28, when he would move to other lodgings inside Philadelphia.

The videos have since been removed by YouTube.

CNN has confirmed that James rented a short-term rental apartment on West Ontario Street in Philadelphia. A neighbor identified James to CNN, saying that James was at the apartment last week seen taking boxes out of a UHaul truck.

The neighbor also told CNN that law enforcement recently searched the apartment.

In a criminal complaint unsealed after James was taken into custody, prosecutors alleged that James did in fact rent an apartment and a storage unit in Philadelphia. Records from ride-share operator Lyft indicate that he visited the facility on April 11 at 6:17 p.m., according to the complaint.

Those records also indicate that James ordered approximately 21 rides to and from the apartment between March 28 and April 10. CNN has reached out to the management company for the Philadelphia apartment for comment but has not yet received a response.

According to the complaint, records from the apartment management company indicate James rented the apartment for at least 15 days.

James did not mention any plans to visit the New York area or convey any concrete plans that he was planning a shooting in the videos that CNN has reviewed.

CNN has previously reported that on April 6, James made a reservation to pick up a U-Haul van on April 11 in Philadelphia, according to documentation of the transaction.

At 4 a.m. Tuesday, just hours before the attack, James drove the U-Haul van into Brooklyn from Staten Island across the Verrazano Bridge, CNN has reported.

James was taken into custody in Manhattan’s East Village on Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

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