PHILADELPHIA – Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers, was captured Thursday without incident, officials said.
Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was seized in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said.
Frein was expected to be transferred to nearby Pike County.
State Police spokeswoman Trooper Connie Devens confirmed that Frein was in custody, but would not elaborate. Edward Hanko, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia division of the FBI, said no shots were fired and no one was hurt as he was taken into custody, Hanko said.
The self-described survivalist allegedly killed State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush attack outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove on Sept. 12.
The attack set off a laborious – and expensive – search in the Pocono woods, costing several million dollars and disrupting daily routines and crippling the tourist business during the peak fall-foliage season.
Police said they found proof Frein had planned such an attack and retreat for years, adding that they found a book on sniper training in his bedroom.
Documents they filed also showed that Frein allegedly searched the Internet in 2012 and 2013 for information on police raids, cellphone tracking and manhunt tactics.
Two weeks ago, officials said they had recovered journal pages handwritten by Frein at a campsite that they said reinforced their resolve to find him.
“I will tell you, after reading this cold-blooded and absolutely chilling account, I can only describe Eric Frein’s actions as pure evil,” Col. George Bivens of the state police said at the time.
The journal, they said, offer the most compelling evidence to date of Frein’s premeditation. Neither it nor investigators have said why he targeted the barracks, although they said the writings suggest that Frein did not know the troopers he attacked.
In it, Frein described shooting the second trooper as the officer knelt to help the first.
Frein, a local resident, had eluded troopers, federal agents, tactical teams and others combing hundreds of acres of Poconos woods.
The woods are so dense in some areas that officers tracking him could not see each other from 10 or 15 feet away, Bivens said, and had to sling their rifles over their shoulders to crawl through the underbrush. Frein, who knows the woods well and studied how to hide from police, disappeared before search teams could identify him or reach him, Bivens said.
Authorities recently added charges against Frein for possession of two weapons of mass destruction. Investigators discovered two pipe bombs, and found powders and other bomb-making materials in Frein’s bedroom at his parents’ house.
In recent weeks Frein’s face had become a familiar one on billboards throughout the region as he was added to the FBI’s “most wanted” list and described as “armed and dangerous.”
Thursday, however, the search came to an end with Frein’s surrender.
It was not known when he would be arraigned.