A vigilante gunman was arrested Wednesday as wild surveillance video emerged showing him brazenly opening fire in a Manhattan subway station in what officials called an “outrageous” and “reckless” attempt to thwart a robbery.
John Rote, 43, of Astoria was taken into custody at his Manhattan job shortly after 2 p.m. after he was recognized by someone who saw the footage of him allegedly opening fire on the homeless man who was trying to rob a woman on the platform of the Times Square station Tuesday night.
Rote, who has no prior arrests, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment and menacing, the NYPD said.
The chilling video obtained by The Post shows the suspected gunman spot the would-be mugger — identified by police as Matthew Roesch, 49 — trying to “forcibly” snatch the 40-year-old victim’s belongings at the 49th Street N, R and W station.
Rote slowly takes off his backpack and reaches inside to whip out the handgun, which he raises and nonchalantly fires at the off-camera scuffle.
He then begins yelling at Roesch while inching closer to the attack before firing the gun another time, according to the footage.
The vigilante gunman then charges toward the thief with the weapon still in his hand.
Luckily, no one was struck.
“I want to be clear: we don’t tolerate this kind of conduct in NYC Transit, period,” city Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement announcing Rote’s arrest.
“Once again cameras recorded a perpetrator, and we are grateful the NYPD made an arrest within hours. Thank goodness nobody was hurt here — but what occurred was outrageous, reckless, and unacceptable.”
Roesch – who officials said is “known to police” — was arrested within minutes of the shooting, but the gunman was able to slip away.
He was charged with attempted robbery. His address is listed as a men’s shelter in Kips Bay.
Rote was only nabbed after police appealed to the public by releasing the footage and surveillance stills of the gunman.
An unnamed acquaintance recognized Rote and called the NYPD, sources said.
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