Zack Tahhan, Syrian immigrant who sighted New York subway shooting suspect

Locals applauded Mr Tahhan for his role in the arrest of Frank James though he was not the only tipster

A man from Syria said he helped with the apprehension of Frank James, the man New York police arrested in connection with Tuesday’s shooting at a Brooklyn subway station.

Zack Tahhan, 21, who said he had been in the US for five years, was working for a shop in Manhattan’s East Village when he saw a man who matched police photos of Mr James on security cameras.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is the guy, we need to get him,” Mr Tahhan said in front of applauding onlookers on Wednesday.

“He was walking down the street. I see the car of the police, I said, ‘Yo, this is the guy.’ We catch him, thank God.”

Mr Tahhan said he ran out into the street and warned passers-by, then flagged down nearby police officers who made the arrest.

However, during a police briefing on Wednesday, officials did not mention Mr Tahhan’s involvement, and later told The National that Mr James himself had alerted officials to his location.

"We believe [Mr James] was one of the tipsters because a caller to the Crime Stoppers hotline identified himself as the suspect and described the clothing accurately," a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The National.

"At the same time we had other tips from other citizens pointing him out in the same area. Police units were already canvassing in the area when the person claiming to be James called."

It is not clear whether Mr Tahhan will receive any of the $50,000 reward offered for tips.

Mr James, 62, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon and will face federal terrorism charges.

Police apprehended him in response to a tip that he was seen at a McDonald’s in Manhattan’s East Village.

Officers responded, but when they did not see him in the restaurant they drove around until they found him on a nearby corner and took him into custody “with no incident", police said.

"The tactic of going wide with multiple photographs of him as soon as possible really gave him few options to be out in the open or go anywhere without being recognised," the official added.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.

Updated: April 14, 2022, 9:45 AM