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Motive unclear in Brooklyn subway shooting. Suspect is at large.

NEW YORK — Police officials are still searching for a man who opened fire in a subway car in Brooklyn Tuesday morning and have not determined a motive for the attack that left at least 16 people wounded.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the incident wasn’t “being investigated as an act of terrorism at this time” during a press briefing at the scene in Sunset Park Tuesday afternoon. Sewell cautioned that the investigation was only “hours old” as officials spoke, and noted their information is subject to change. She said police do not yet know the attacker’s motive.

Mayor Eric Adams later said it was too early to rule out terrorism.

“I think it’s still preliminary, it’s a preliminary investigation, uh, this is terror,” Adams said on CNN shortly after Sewell spoke. Adams gave the television interview from his official Gracie Mansion residence in Manhattan where he’s quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19 Sunday.

“Someone attempted to terrorize our system. They brought in what appears to be some form of smoke device, they discharged a weapon. And so I don’t want to be premature in identifying that this was, was not,” he said.

None of the 16 people who were shot have life-threatening injuries, Sewell added.

Ten of those people have gunshot wounds and five are in “critical but stable condition,” FDNY Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

The chaos began shortly before 8:24 a.m., when a man on a Manhattan-bound N-train donned “what appeared to be a gas mask” and opened a canister that released smoke into the subway car, Sewell said.

“He then opened fire, striking multiple people on the subway and the platform,” the commissioner added.

Sewell was joined by Gov. Kathy Hochul, who headed to the scene hours after news broke that her lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, was arrested in an alleged bribery scheme. Hochul refused to address the federal charges at the press conference.

“This morning ordinary New Yorkers woke up in anticipation of a relatively normal day,” Hochul said. “That sense of tranquility and normalness was disrupted, brutally disrupted” by a “cold-hearted” individual who is “still on the loose,” Hochul said.

“This individual is still on the loose. This person is dangerous,” she added. “This is an active shooter situation right now in the city of New York.”

Hochul said she has been in contact with Adams, who was represented at the press conference by First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo.

In a two-minute virtual address, Adams thanked emergency responders and confirmed that multiple people had been injured, including victims with gunshot wounds. He said smoke bombs were detonated to “cause havoc” and that officials on scene hadn’t found “live explosive devices.”

“We will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized, even by a single individual,” Adams said. “And the NYPD is searching for the suspect at large. And we will find him.”

Meanwhile nearby public schools were ordered to shelter-in-place.

In a statement, Schools Chancellor David Banks said the edict was issued “out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of our students.” A spokesperson for the agency said that students will not be kept from entering school buildings.

“We are working closely with NYPD and school leadership to ensure that every school has the supports they need as we work to ensure the safety of our school communities,” Banks said. “We will share updates as they become available. My thoughts go out to the victims of this tragedy.”

One parent — Danielle Campoamor, a reporter for TODAY show, tweeted Tuesday morning that her son was in lockdown at his school due to the shooting.

“He’s safe but this bio evolutionary ‘will eat man bear to protect bear cubs’ feeling of needing my baby w/me & I can’t get to him is the worst,” she wrote. “Too many parents in this country are forced to feel this way.”

Madina Toure contributed to this report.

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