“Eric Frein was dedicated to killing law enforcement members,” Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said in a news conference with Gov. Tom Corbett. “I can’t think of a more dangerous occupation than going out into those woods and looking for him.”
Frein — who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, with a reward of $175,000 — had a sniper rifle and knives but no shots were fired when he was captured in defunct Birchwood-Pocono Airpark in Tannersville around 6 p.m, Noonan said.
He dropped to his knees as the marshals moved in and was shackled in the handcuffs of Cpl. Bryon Dickson, the officer he’s accused of killing.
Frein, 31, was taken to the same Blooming Grove State Police barracks in Pike County where authorities said he ambushed Dickson, a 38-year-old father of two, and Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, whom he wounded, on Sept. 12.
Days after the shootings, investigators retrieved what they said was incriminating evidence in the self-trained survivalist’s Jeep, found partially submerged in a nearby pond.
It included two pipe bombs, an AK-47, ammunition and various food and supplies, as well as Frein’s Social Security card and state Game Commission range permit, camouflage face paint, flashlights, a black hoodie and information related to foreign embassies.
Frein apparently had been plotting the crime and escape for years, said authorities, citing bunker-building materials and a computer history that included sites dedicated to manhunts and police tactics.
Frein previously ducked authorities in upstate New York for more than a year before surrending in 2006 in connection with the theft of more than $3,800 worth of World War II military uniform reproductions during a re-enactment.
Authorities held him for more than three months before he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to time served.
Frein was hiding in the woods across from the barracks when he fired a .308-caliber rifle at the front door during a shift change out of some type of grudge against law enforcement.
New Jersey State Police joined their colleagues from Pennsylvania and New York, FBI agents and other federal authorities in a round-the-clock manhunt that lasted seven weeks.
Frein “has ties to the mid-Atlantic region—including the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York,” the FBI said, and “faces state charges of homicide, homicide of a law enforcement officer, and attempted murder, as well as a federal unlawful flight to avoid prosecution charge.”
Click here to follow Daily Voice Bergenfield and receive free news updates.