Ten people were wounded by gunfire and at least a dozen were hurt in Tuesday's attack in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood. Investigators believe 62-year-old Frank R. James, the suspected gunman, sent off smoke grenades in a crowded subway car and then fired at least 33 shots with a 9 mm handgun, police said.
LIVE UPDATES: Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank R. James in custody
While all of the gunshot victims are expected to survive, five had suffered critical injuries and now face a long recovery.
Some of the passengers injured during the attack were children and young adults heading to class, including a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the leg and hand.
"It was a pretty devastating injury to the thumb, and it destroyed a lot of the bone, the joint, the tendon, the nerve," said hand surgeon Jack Choueka. "We were able to salvage the thumb. It's alive, and he'll need some more surgery."
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she spoke with the 16-year-old's mother and described the moment she learned of her son's injuries.
"His mother does not speak English. She is Chinese," Hochul said. "She is there alone, and it was so sad to hear through a translator her anxiety. All she has is her son."
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An 18-year-old man on his way to class at Borough of Manhattan Community College remains hospitalized after he was shot in the leg. Maimonides Hospital officials said it admitted a 12-year-old patient who has since been discharged.
Gunshot victim Hourari Benkada spoke to our sister station WABC from his hospital bed and detailed his attempt to help a pregnant woman escape before he was shot in the leg.
"All you see is smoke ... and then people bum-rushing to the back," he said. "This pregnant woman was in front of me, I was trying to help her. I didn't know there were shots at first. I just thought it was a black smoke bomb. She said, 'I'm pregnant with a baby!' I hugged her, and then the bum-rush continued. I got pushed, and that's when I got shot in the back of my knee."
WATCH: New York City commuters wary after subway attack
Survivors are also sharing stories of helping fellow commuters as the 36th Street station platform and an approaching R train turned into a makeshift triage facility.
Claire Tunkel told WABC she sacrificed her jacket to stop a man's leg from bleeding out.
"I took off my jacket because that was the closest thing to wrap around his leg," she said. "I pulled out a grocery bag, shopping bag, and tried to tear that apart to help another person. Just... I don't know, at that moment I felt like if there was something I could do to help, that is what it was."