WASHINGTON (AFP) – A man accused of shooting dead a Pennsylvania state trooper was arrested Thursday after eluding capture for six weeks during a massive manhunt through mountains and dense forests, authorities said.
Eric Frein, 31, described in US media reports as a self-trained sniper and survivalist with a hatred of law enforcement, had been hunted after allegedly gunning down trooper Bryon Dickson II and wounding another officer on September 12.
Several hundred officers from Pennsylvania state police and federal law enforcement had combed the region’s Pocono Mountains following the alleged gunman’s deadly unprovoked attack.
“Eric Frein, the alleged shooter of two Pennsylvania State Police troopers has been taken into custody,” the FBI said.
Frein had been included in the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list as the search continued following his ambush outside a barracks near Pennsylvania’s border with New York and New Jersey.
Searchers had found traces of Frein throughout the hunt but he had managed to stay one step ahead of his trackers.
At one point, police discovered an abandoned campsite along with a note purported to have been written by Frein describing his attack.
“I got a shot around 11 pm and took it,” Frein wrote in his note, according to police.
“He dropped, I was surprised at how quick. I took a follow-up shot on his head and neck area. He was still and quiet after that.
“Another cop approached the one I just shot. As he went to kneel, I took a shot at him and then he jumped in the door. His legs were visible and still.”
Frein has been described as a loner obsessed with military history who was fascinated by the modern Serbian army and paramilitary groups.