Eric Frein has been on the run since he allegedly shot two Pennsylvania State Policemen on September 12, and law enforcement is confident they are close to apprehending the suspect after they found a partially concealed cache of ammunition and a hidden AK-47 in the woods where they believe Frein is hiding. In the words of PA State Police Lt. Col George Bivens, “I do believe that we are close to him at this point.” He also added, “we’re on the right trail.” Investigators believe Fein may have stashed the arsenal some time ago, and may have even been planning his ambush of the police officers for months.
According to local news reports, there are up to 400 law enforcement officers searching for 31 year old Frein who has been promoted to #2 on FBI’s Most Wanted list, including the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the ATF, and their search crews are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and tracking dogs.
Frein is accused of stalking and killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding another officer, Trooper Alex Douglass on September 12 outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks at the end of their shift. Frein is still on the run and considered a significant threat in the area. “This fellow is extremely dangerous. We have no idea where he is in the community. He has been described as a survivalist. He has a lot of training in that particular area. He has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.
Frein is a highly skilled marksman and a trained survivalist who has been known to partake in WWII and Cold War battle re-enactments. Law enforcement believes he is currently armed with the same .308 rifle that he shot the State Troopers with and are not taking the situation lightly with lethal force being authorized as of this 8:30 morning, according to local Morning Call reporters. There have also been “extreme precautionary measures” taken locally to protect residents of the forested area. Pennsylvania State Police issued a statement last Friday saying, “due to the violent nature of his crimes, extreme precautionary measures are being taken. The PA State Police are very concerned for the safety of the community so we are continuing to ask people to shelter in place.” Roadblocks have been established and an emergency shelter was set up Friday night at the Barrett Township Volunteer Fire Company for local residents who could not get to their homes. The high police activity in the area also impacted local businesses, many of them having to close. Though the “shelter in place” order was lifted on Saturday, many remained closed, including local churches cancelling Sunday services.
State Police do not believe that Frein is targeting civilians, only law enforcement at this point, but still urge local citizens to be careful. “The suspect is still considered armed and dangerous,” Bivens said. “We ask and remind residents to lock all doors as well as their vehicles. At night, keep the exterior of their homes well lit.” Even Governor Tom Corbett stated in a recent press conference, “He had the opportunity to shoot civilians at the Blooming Grove barracks at the same time that he shot the police officer… and he chose not to shoot them.”
The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for Frein’s capture, and there is a local reward in lieu of $75,000 according to the PA Crimestoppers website. He’s wanted on a slew of charges including first degree murder, first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, assault of a law enforcement officer, reckless endangerment and other weapons charges. The official FBI description states, “Frein is known to be a heavy smoker, a weapons enthusiast, and a survivalist. He claims to have fought with Serbians in Africa, and he has studied Russian and Serbian languages. He may have shaved his head on both sides and have long hair on top. He was last seen with no facial hair and was wearing a brown and gold windbreaker, khaki shorts, and sneakers. He was carrying a dark green backpack with black trim. Frein has ties to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, including the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.”
If you have information about the whereabouts of Eric Frein, please call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers Toll Free at 1-800-4PA-TIPS or 1-866-326-7256. According to their website, “All callers remain anonymous and could be eligible for a CASH REWARD.”