Captured: prison escapee David Sweat shot (+video)
David Sweat shot: After three weeks on the run and the death of his accomplice Richard Matt, prison escapee David Sweat was shot and taken into custody Sunday afternoon.
Elizabethtown, N.Y. — Escaped New York state prison inmate David Sweat was in custody on Sunday after being shot by police near the Canadian border, according to media reports.
Sweat, 35, has been on the run since he and fellow inmate Richard Matt were discovered missing from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, on June 6.
Sweat was shot and taken into custody near the Canadian border, according to NBC.
Escapee Richard Matt, 49, was killed on Friday near Malone, about 27 miles (43 km) northwest of the maximum-security prison, by a member of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection tactical unit.
Some 1,300 members of law enforcement were involved in the search.
Matt and Sweat cut through cell walls, climbed along a catwalk, shimmied through a steam pipe and emerged out of a manhole outside prison walls, authorities said.
Over the past 24 hours, the search had intensified. Earlier today, the Associated Press reported on the hunt:
Officers scouring dense and boggy woods for a surviving escaped killer took floodlights into the search area overnight, and others carrying rifles manned checkpoints and examined vehicles, opening trunks and peering into windows.
Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said late Saturday tips continued to pour in and he was optimistic David Sweat would be captured, perhaps within 48 hours.
'It's going to be one of those phone calls that turns this case around,' he said.
As Jennifer Peltz at AP reported:
If it was stunning that Matt and Sweat got out of one of the state's highest-security prisons, it was no surprise that they were in it.
Sweat, who turned 35 eight days after the escape, had been in and out of prison since age 17. Growing up across the state in Binghamton, he'd had a childhood of behavioral problems, foster care and group homes.
On July 4, 2002, Sweat and a cousin were moving stolen guns from a stolen pickup truck to their car when Broome County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Tarsia came across them in a Binghamton-area park. They shot him 15 times and ran him over, authorities said. Caught in the woods five days after the shooting, Sweat pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
Matt's record of crime and flight goes back to 1986, when he was convicted of possessing a forged document and escaped from a jail in Buffalo. After his capture came more convictions, prison stints and parole violations.
He had been free for fewer than eight months when in 1997 he kidnapped, tortured and killed a Buffalo-area food broker a few weeks after being fired from a warehouse job, authorities said. He kept 76-year-old William Rickerson in a car trunk for 27 hours, broke the man's fingers, snapped his neck with bare hands and cut up his body with a hacksaw, according to trial testimony. Matt blamed a co-defendant.
He dodged arrest by fleeing to Mexico, where he soon killed a man outside a bar in the border town of Matamoros, authorities said. After nine years behind bars in Mexico, he was returned to New York, convicted of killing Rickerson and sentenced to 25 years to life.
A photo of Matt in his early 20s is at once flirtatious and challenging, a cigarette dangling rebelliously from his mouth and a taunting glint in his deep-set eyes, a confident expression that lingers in his most recent prison mug shot. Besides compelling looks, Matt had the magnetism of "a fun but dangerous guy to hang around with," Matthew Pynn, one of his lawyers, once said.
Those qualities, perhaps, help explain the escape in Dannemora.