State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Frein arrested, could face death penalty

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 30, 2014 10:56 PM
frein_AP.jpg

Photo by Associated Press


Authorities have captured Eric Frein, the suspect in a police barracks shooting in Blooming Grove, Pike County, ending a seven-week manhunt for the man thought to be a practiced survivalist with a grudge against law enforcement.

Fugitive Eric Frein was apprehended Thursday evening in a protracted search after the September 12 ambush of state police that left Cpl. Bryon Dickson fatally shot and Trooper Alex Douglass seriously injured.

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Frein surrendered after being found by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar.

"When they approached it they saw an individual that they thought was Eric Frein and they ordered him to surrender, to get down on his knees and raise his hands, which is what he did," Noonan said. "Once they approached him he admitted his identity and was taken into custody."

Noonan said Frein was captured and transported with Dickson's handcuffs and patrol car, a circumstance Governor Corbett called "very appropriate" in his remarks to reporters. Frein was found "in good physical condition," said Noonan. A bloodied mark on the bridge of the suspect's nose was a "scratch, but he had that before" being apprehended, Noonan said.

Frein faces charges including murder in the first degree and homicide of a law enforcement officer, both capital offenses. The Pike County district attorney said he'll seek the death penalty for Frein.

The lengthy search for Frein, added to the F.B.I.'s Most Wanted list, tried the rural northeastern region, at times disrupting school schedules, closing roads, discouraging tourism, and changing daily life as police and helicopters combed the woodsy area.

Noonan thanked law enforcement partners as well as residents of the surrounding area of Pike and Monroe counties, and attributed the protracted manhunt to the difficult terrain of the woods and Frein's familiarity with the region.

"Eric Frein had a mission, and that was to attack law enforcement," Noonan said. "If he got out of those woods, we were very concerned that he would then kill other law enforcement, and if not them, civilians. That's why we had to keep the pressure on."

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports police first named the 31-year-old after linking him to a Jeep abandoned in the woods near the barracks with empty rifle cases, camouflage face paint, and two spent cartridge casings matching those found in the woods near the shooting.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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