Syrian Zack Tahhan to share reward for helping NYPD catch subway gunman

Tahhan, who moved to the US five years ago, was honoured by New York’s mayor and the city's police force

Zack Tahhan, the Syrian immigrant who helped police catch the gunman in the Brooklyn subway shooting last week, has been honoured for his quick thinking.

Mr Tahhan was one of four members of the public to receive public praise at a proclamation ceremony on Wednesday attended by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Metropolitan Transit Authority head Janno Lieber.

Mr Tahhan installs security cameras and has lived in the US for five years.

He was working at a shop in Manhattan’s East Village when he saw a man who resembled photos released by police of the suspect. The assailant, Frank James, was later apprehended.

Ten people were shot in one subway carriage after Frank James opened fire. A further 23 people were injured in the chaos that followed at the 36th St station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Others honoured at the ceremony on Wednesday were Mohamad Cheikh, who was also upgrading security cameras at the shop; Francisco Puebla, a manager at a hardware and gardening store; and Jack Griffin, a secondary school pupil who was on a class field trip.

The four will share the $50,000 reward among themselves and one other person, who asked not to be identified.

During the ceremony, Ms Sewell said each of the five tipsters “exemplifies the determination and courage” that makes the attendees proud to be New Yorkers, the New York Times reported.

After Mr James was apprehended, Mr Tahhan held an impromptu press conference on the streets that quickly became viral for his enthusiasm, at one point grabbing a reporter’s microphone to interview other witnesses.

Police reported that on April 12, Mr James donned a gas mask while in a subway carriage, then filled it with smoke using two cannisters before opening fire on other passengers.

Mr James left behind a trail of evidence including a jammed nine-millimetre pistol, a gas mask, a hatchet, fireworks and keys to a van rented by Mr James, the NYPD said at a press conference.

It was the pistol’s jamming that prevented more bloodshed, police said. They found it contained an additional 57 rounds.

Mr James himself had alerted police to his whereabouts after photos of him circulated on social media.

The attack stunned New York, in which gun violence has increased, a priority for Mr Adams since he was sworn in as mayor this year.

Mr James was charged with committing a violent attacking a mass transit system, a federal offence. A US federal judge ordered him to remain in jail without bail.

Updated: April 21, 2022, 5:31 PM