Home / World

'Hunch' led to fugitive's capture

By Associated Press in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-03 07:39

Member of the US Marshals Service say it was just a hunch that led to the capture of a survivalist and marksman charged in a deadly sniper attack outside a Pennsylvania state police barracks who had eluded authorities for 48 days.

Scott Malkowski, a task force commander with the Marshals Service, spied a figure moving from the woods toward an abandoned airplane hangar in the Pocono Mountains. Looking at his face, his black hat and fleece, and his height and weight, Malkowski was certain he had his man.

"Suspect," he told the two operators by his side, and they fanned out on either side of their quarry, who had no idea he'd just been spotted. Hidden by tall grass, Malkowski moved stealthily toward his target, adrenaline coursing through his body.

The fugitive, Eric Frein, didn't stand a chance.

The Marshals Service was one of several state and federal law enforcement agencies that took part in the intensive manhunt for Frein, who was charged in the deadly sniper attack outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks, and wound up nabbing him on the 48th day of the search.

Frein had an initial court appearance on Friday morning and remained jailed without bail on first-degree murder and other charges in the Sept 12 ambush that killed Corporal Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass.

'Hunch' led to fugitive's capture


He did not have a lawyer and was not asked to enter a plea. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov 12.

The district attorney plans to seek the death penalty.

Until his capture around 6 pm on Thursday, Frein had some residents beginning to wonder if law enforcement was up to the task, given the rugged terrain of the Poconos and the evident skill with which he eluded dogs, thermal-imaging cameras and teams of heavily armed officers.

Scott Kimball, though, never had a doubt.

"We expected to find him," said Kimball, 48, a Virginia-based member of the US Marshals' special operations group.

On Thursday, Kimball was stationed in a command post while Malkowski, 44, and other members of the team - acting on a request from Pennsylvania State Police - worked to clear an abandoned resort. About two hours in, Malkowski and two others approached the hangar at the old Birchwood-Pocono Airpark.

"We just had a hunch that if we were on the run, this is a place we would hide," he said.

Once Frein was spotted, Malkowski and his team sneaked up on the fugitive. They were about 23 meters away when Frein finally realized he wasn't alone. Malkowski identified himself as law enforcement and ordered Frein, who was unarmed but had weapons in the hangar, to get on the ground.

"What's your name?" Malkowski asked.

Frein told him.

He made no attempt to flee and didn't put up a fight.

"He had nowhere to go. There is nothing he could've done," Malkowski said, adding: "From what I saw, he felt defeated because we'd won. We'd defeated him."

After the marshals turned him over to state police, Frein was placed in handcuffs belonging to the slain state trooper and driven in Dickson's squad car to the Blooming Grove barracks.

Frein, 31, could be seen with a gash on the bridge of his nose and a scrape over his left eye. Malkowski and Kimball said he suffered the injuries while marshals had him down on the pavement.

Malkowski said his first thoughts upon Frein's capture were "relief for the community, for Pennsylvania State Police, and closure for Corporal Dickson's family that he's finally in custody".

(China Daily 11/03/2014 page10)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349