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'The Nightmare Is Over,' Says Cuomo On Capture Of Escapee David Sweat

Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference with State Police and other law enforcement officials to confirm capture of escape prisoner David Sweat.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference with State Police and other law enforcement officials to confirm capture of escape prisoner David Sweat. Video Credit: NYGovCuomo

DANNEMORA, N.Y. -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked law enforcement officials and residents in the area surrounding the Clinton Correctional Facility for their efforts over the last three weeks that led to the shooting death of one escapee and the capture of another convicted murderer.

"The nightmare is finally over," Cuomo said.

Sergeant Jay Cook of the New York State Police spotted a suspicious man walking down a roadway in Constable, N.Y., about two miles south of the Canadian border at about 3:20 p.m. Sunday. Cook pursued, shot and injured 35-year-old David Sweat. Sweat was taken into police custody alive, and is currently in stable condition at Albany Medical Center.

"It was a very courageous act," Cuomo said. "I said to Sgt. Cook, who has two daughters to go home tonight and tell your daughters that you're a hero.

"With teenage girls, that will probably last a good 24 hours and then you go back to being a regular dad, as I well know."

On Friday, authorities spotted, shot and killed 49-year-old Richard Matt following Matt's failure to respond to law enforcement commands. Matt had a shotgun in his possession. Autopsy results determined the cause of death to be severe skull fractures and brain injuries due to three gunshot wounds to the head fired from a semi-automatic weapon.

"These were really dangerous, dangerous men, both Matt and Sweat," Cuomo said. "They were killers. Mr. Matt killed at least two people; Mr. Sweat killed a sheriff's deputy in Broome County in a savage, savage way. So these were dangerous people. We could not tolerate them being on the loose. 

"The terrain here was very difficult. This prison happens to be located in a heavily forested area, so this was an extraordinarily difficult row to hoe so to speak. This was an unprecedented coming together of law enforcement on every level. We had local law enforcement; we had federal law enforcement, state assets – all working together, hand in glove with gears meshing."

When the search concluded Sunday, there were approximately 1,300 federal, state and local law enforcement members involved.

Agencies active in the search included: Forest Rangers and Conservation Officers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, officers from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Plattsburgh Police, Vermont State Police, the Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Washington County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Clinton and Franklin County District Attorney's offices.

For more on Sweat's capture, check Sunday's Daily Voice report.

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