LORDS VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — A survivalist accused of ambushing two state troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, was captured on Thursday by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar, ending a seven-week manhunt that had rattled the nerves of area residents.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Eric Frein, who meekly gave himself up when surrounded, authorities said.
“He did not just give up because he was tired,” state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said. “He gave up because he was caught.”
Frein was held in the handcuffs of the trooper he’s accused of killing, Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday at a nighttime news conference.
The quiet takedown of Frein, who kneeled and put his hands up when marshals approached him, ended weeks of tension and turmoil in the area, as authorities at times closed schools, canceled outdoor events and blockaded roads to pursue him. Residents grew weary of hearing helicopters overhead, while small businesses suffered mounting losses and town supervisors canceled a popular Halloween parade.
Frein is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding another trooper.
Police said they linked him 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 the barracks as well as Frein’s driver’s license, camouflage face paint, two empty rifle cases and military gear.
Officials, saying Frein was armed and extremely dangerous, had 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 Frein, whom they called an experienced survivalist at home in the woods.
They pursued countless tips and closed in on an area around Frein’s parents’ home in Canadensis after he used his cellphone to try contacting them and the signal was traced to a location about 3 miles away. At times police ordered nearby residents to stay inside or prevented them from returning home.
Eric Frein caught: A timeline of the suspected cop killer’s 48 days on the run
Suspected cop-killer Eric Frein was captured Thursday afternoon nearly seven weeks after he allegedly shot and killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass on September 12.
Eric Frein allegedly shot and killed a Pennsylvania State trooper and injured another officer when he ambushed a police barracks last month. The self-survivalist eluded authorities in the woods of northeast Pennsylvania for nearly seven weeks before he was finally captured Thursday.
Here’s a look at his time on the lam:
Sept. 15 – Police found Frein’s 2001 Jeep Cherokee partly submerged in a lake. Inside were shell casings matching those found at the shooting scene, camouflage face paint, two empty rifle cases and military gear.
Sept. 18 – The FBI added Frein to the “Ten Most Wanted List” and offered at $100,000 reward on the same day Dickson was buried in an emotional ceremony.
Sept. 20 – Authorities said they were closing in on Frein after exchanging gunfire in a remote heavily wooded area near the home of Frein’s parents. Area residents were cautioned to stay inside and lock all doors.
Sept. 23 – Video of a Vietnam War reenactment surfaced of Frein bragging about his military history and expertise.
Sept. 21 – Police recovered Frein’s Ak-47-style weapon and ammunition.
Sept. 24 – Police said they spotted Frein but he eluded capture. Police found his journals and soiled diapers belonging to the suspected killer.
Sept. 29 – Police recovered two pipe bombs and handwritten notes describing the attacks in the woods of Pike and Monroe Counties. “He dropped,” one of the notes reads. “I was surprised at how quick.”
Oct. 2 – Two state troopers were injured after falling from a tree stand while looking for Frein.
Oct. 4 – Frein’s sister, Tiffany Frein, called for her brother to turn himself in.
Oct. 9 – Barrett Township essentially canceled Halloween by banning trick-or-treating and postponing the 50th annual Halloween parade during the manhunt. They reinstated Halloween festivities after Frein was captured.
Oct. 16 – Trooper Alex Douglass was released from Geisinger Community Medical Center and moved to a rehabilitation facility.
Oct. 27 – Police deployed a $180,000 surveillance balloon equipped with cameras, on loan from the Ohio Department of Transportation, to look for Frein in the woods. The mission was deemed a failure just one day later when nature did not cooperate.
Oct. 30 – Frein was captured in Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon after a 48-day manhunt.
No shots were fired in the apprehension of Frein, he was found in a hanger and surrendered to law enforcement. Authorities will have more information on Friday