Brooklyn shooting survivor Hourari Benkada says he sat next to suspect on train
A Brooklyn subway shooting survivor has described the chilling moment he unknowingly sat next to the suspect on the train.
Hourari Benkada jumped on the last N train carriage Tuesday morning and sat next to a man wearing an MTA vest with a duffle bag who would unleash bloodshed and terror minutes later.
The 27-year-old detailed the chilling commute in an interview with CNN from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from a gunshot wound in the back of his knee as he tried to flee the mass shooter’s bullets.
“This makes me want to never ride a train ever again in my life,” Benkada told CNN via FaceTime.
“I was on 59th street on the ART train transferring to the N train on 59th. It was the first car, last seats. And I’m just not paying attention to that so I just walked in and sat down. The guy is next to me but I didn’t get a glimpse of his face.”
The NYPD continues to search for the gunman who caused the chaotic commute just before 8:30 am Tuesday, but has named Frank James, 62, as a person of interest. Police say the keys found at the crime scene belong to a U-Haul truck in Philadelphia that was rented by James.
Benkada, a housekeeping manager at the New Yorker Hotel, Benkada watched the man detonate a “smoke bomb” before firing shots just seconds after the train left the station.
Still visibly shaken, Benkada said “I don’t even know how I’m holding my phone” as he recounted what happened next.
All you see is black smoke after the smoke bomb went off. People bum-rushing to the back,” he told CNN. “About 10 shots went off. I think the gun jammed. I think he had an extended clip or something because I’ve never heard that many shots come off a handgun. It sounded like the loudest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Benkada said his main priority was helping a hurt pregnant woman get off the train before being stampeded. Then Benkada described being shot.
“The worst pain of my entire life. I was just so shocked that the pain didn’t hit me until after.”