Fugitive Frein Caught Suspect in State Trooper's Ambush Killing Apprehended in Poconos

By Laura McCrystal; Mike Newall | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Fugitive Frein Caught Suspect in State Trooper's Ambush Killing Apprehended in Poconos


Laura McCrystal; Mike Newall, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


PHILADELPHIA - Eric Frein, the cop-killing suspect who for more than six weeks had been the target of a Poconos-region manhunt involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.

Mr. Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport just outside the northeastern town of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said. But a federal law enforcement official in Washington told The Associated Press that Mr. Frein, in fact, was armed when he was captured.

As he was taken away, Mr. Frein's hands were in the handcuffs of state police Cpl. Bryon Dickson, whom he is accused of killing in an ambush outside a police barracks, according to Gov. Tom Corbett.

FBI Special Agent Edward Hanko, in charge of the federal agency's Philadelphia division, said no shots were fired, and that no one was hurt as he was taken into custody.

A photo of Mr. Frein that surfaced after his capture showed him sitting next to a trooper in the back of a car with long dark hair, a thin beard, and what appeared to be a bloodied cut across the bridge of his nose. He was expected to be transferred to nearby Pike County, where the shootings occurred.

Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin said he intended to seek the death penalty for the self-described survivalist.

Mr. Frein allegedly killed Cpl. Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush attack Sept. 12 outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove. The attack set off a laborious - and expensive - search in the Poconos woods, costing several million dollars and disrupting daily routines and crippling the tourist business during the peak fall-foliage season.

At a late-night news conference, Gov. Corbett and law enforcement officials discussed the manhunt and the arrest. The governor thanked investigators for their hard work over the last several weeks.

"I particularly want to thank the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania . . . whose patience, whose tolerance, and whose perseverance have been a tremendous support and lift to the law enforcement personnel," Corbett said. "You have demonstrated the very best of Pennsylvania."

He added: "Let me assure you . . . justice will be served."

Police said they linked Mr. Frein, 31, to the ambush after a man walking his dog discovered his partly submerged SUV three days later in a swamp a few miles from the shooting scene. Inside, investigators found shell casings matching those found at barracks as well as Mr. Frein's driver's license, camouflage face paint, two empty rifle cases and military gear.

Officials, saying Mr. Frein was armed and extremely dangerous, had closed schools and urged residents to be alert and cautious. Using dogs, thermal imaging technology and other tools, law enforcement officials combed miles of forest as they hunted for him.

Police also said they found proof that Mr. Frein had planned such an attack and retreat for years, adding that they found a book on sniper training in his bedroom. …

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