Elusive Pennsylvania ambush suspect captured, ending manhunt

UNITED STATES - The survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania state trooper and seriously wounding a second officer in a sniper attack in September was taken into custody after a seven-week manhunt, police said on Thursday.

Eric Matthew Frein, 31, eluded capture by hundreds of law enforcement officers since the Sept. 12 ambush of the troopers outside a state police barracks in Blooming Grove.

The attack killed Corporal Bryon Dickson, 38, and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass, 31.

Frein's capture may finally shed light on the mysteries that have surrounded the case, including a motive for the apparently random shooting and how the suspect was able to stay one step ahead of the intensive search for so long.

The search has involved hundreds of officers from state, local and federal agencies, using helicopters, armored vehicles and sophisticated tracking technology.

Officers from the US Marshals service captured Frein in an abandoned aircraft hangar at the shuttered Birchwood Resort in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, according to the supervisor at the Monroe County 911 Emergency Dispatch Center.

Frein, who was on the FBI's most wanted list, surrendered without incident, NBC News reported, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.

A rifle and a handgun were found in the hangar, one of the sources told NBC.

He was immediately driven to the Blooming Grove barracks and whisked inside after being escorted in chains past the spot in the parking lot where the two officers were shot.

A magistrate was inside in the barracks, police said, and Frein was expected to be arraigned on first-degree murder charge and other counts.

Television footage showed Frein in the back seat of a police cruiser after his capture. He was clean-shaven despite his weeks on the run and had a visible cut across the bridge of his nose.

Tannersville, about 100 miles (160 km) north of Philadelphia, is the area of the Poconos where police concentrated their search.

Since the start, authorities have insisted that Frein, an expert marksman who lived with his parents in Canadensis, was hiding nearby, taking refuge in the dense state forests and game lands that blanket the region.

There were several reported sightings of him during the manhunt, but police said they were unable to get close enough to apprehend him.

Search teams found a diary in which police say Frein apparently wrote about the details of the ambush. A campsite, an assault rifle, pipe bombs and other items linked to the suspect turned up over the weeks.

Police have also said that the suspect, who dressed like a Serbian soldier in a war reenactment group and had a penchant for foreign languages, held a longstanding grudge against law enforcement but they have provided no evidence of that assertion.

The heavy presence of law enforcement and the aggressive tactics employed by police during the manhunt rattled many residents of the normally peaceful area of northeastern Pennsylvania, even as most were appalled by the shooting.

The region, one of the popular places in the US Northeast for deer hunting, was put off limits to hunters this season, a big setback to the local economy.