Suspected cop killer Eric Frein is finally in police custody today, seven weeks to the day after the shooting death of Pennsylvania State Police officers Byron Dickson and Alex T. Douglass. U.S. Marshals captured Frein on Thursday evening at an abandoned airport near Tannersville, Pennsylvania. The manhunt at one point had included over 1,000 officers. Frein had even been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, where his picture now reads “CAPTURED”.
While conducting a routine sweep through the woods, police reportedly surprised 31-year-old Frein in a field near the airport. He was not armed when police found him, and surrendered without incident. As authorities had been preparing for a shootout, many were grateful for a peaceful apprehension. When authorities searched the area, they found a hiding spot with items that included a sniper rifle consistent with the casings that were found during the initial shooting investigation. Officers believe that Frein was able to feed himself by hiding in local empty cabins and eating food he found there.
The motive for Frein’s attack seven weeks ago is not entirely clear. However, police have indicated that Frein’s writings included a hatred for law enforcement. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan stated that authorities were concerned that if Frein resurfaced, other law enforcement officers’ lives could have been in danger.
Frein was taken in Dickson’s vehicle to the very barracks he had attacked weeks ago, shackled in the Dickson’s handcuffs. Overnight, he was moved to the Pike County Correctional Facility. Frein has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer, and possession of weapons of mass destruction. District Attorney Raymond Tonkin stated that he plans on seeking the death penalty.
For the residents of the Tannersville area, it is a release of a collectively held breath. Children who had been kept indoors even for recess were facing the prospect of cancelled Halloween festivities. However, now that Frein is in custody, we suspect there will be much revelling in the area as the children enjoy that candy tonight.
CNN brings us this update:
Life in northeast Pa. resumes as search ends for trooper killing suspect Frein (CNN)
Eric Frein Shackled With Slain Trooper’s Handcuffs After Capture (ABC News)
Eric Frein: US police killer suspect found after manhunt (BBC News)