On Sept. 16, the Pennsylvania State Troopers provided a profile and then also the identity of the suspect they’re now searching for in connection with the shooting ambush on Friday night that left one state trooper dead and another trooper seriously injured outside the Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, state troopers’ barracks. CBS News reported that the suspect “is a survivalist who has expressed a desire to kill law enforcement officers and commit mass murder.”
And that suspect has now been identified as 31-year-old Eric Matthew Frein, of Canadensis, Pennsylvania, according to State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. Noonan said that the manhunt is on in earnest for Frein whose whereabouts are still currently unknown. Noonan also said that Frein should be considered armed and “extremely dangerous.” Noonan said that Frein has “expressed anti-government leanings in the past, especially toward law enforcement.”
Prior to Frein being identified as the gunman, a $50,000 reward from a non-profit group posted by Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers was recently increased to $75,000 for information leading to the shooter’s capture. Police say they received hundreds of tips. A person of interest interviewed following the shootings over the weekend was not arrested or considered to be a suspect in the shootings.
As the search for the shooter continued through today, officials closed down sections of Route 402 last night. Route 402 was described as “a roadway that runs through a forest near the barracks”.
A spokesperson for the state police, Trooper Tom Kelly, would not elaborate on why the road was blocked and closed. Kelly also wouldn’t say what searchers were looking for. No-one had been taken into custody following the re-opening of Route 402.
Shot dead Friday night in what officials are calling an ambush and a cowardly attack, was Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson. According to CNN, Dickson was a seven-year veteran with the troopers and had just transferred to Blooming Grove from the Philadelphia barracks several months ago. He leaves behind a wife of 10 years and two young sons.
The injured lawman, Trooper Douglass, a nine-year veteran, was conscious and talking for the first time since he underwent surgery. Investigators planned to interview him.
Frein used a a .308-caliber rifle to shoot Dickson and Douglass on Friday, according to NBC News. After firing at the troopers, Frein “slipped off into the thick forest surrounding the barracks.”
An area man walking his dog called the police after eyeing a “vehicle slightly submerged in a swampy area near the barracks.” When investigators arrived on the scene, they found Frein’s ID inside the vehicle “along with shell casings, empty rifle cases, military gear and camouflage face paint.” Police were able to match the shell casings from the vehicle to casings recovered from Frein’s home.
Prior to identifying Frein as Friday’s shooter, officials profiled him as a killer with a grudge against the Pennsylvania State Police. Investigators said that leading up to the shootings, the killer “made several trips to a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, picking just the right hiding spot from which he could launch an ambush and make his escape.”
Frein has been charged with murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, criminal homicide of law enforcement officers and several other offenses. As of this afternoon, law enforcement officials were still searching the dense Pennsylvania woods for their suspect. According to Noonan, “we have no idea where he is.” For more more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.