Police have identified a well-trained survivalist as the main suspect in the ambush death of a Pennsylvania state trooper late Friday evening at a remote police barracks outside Scranton, Pa.
Using descriptors like “coward” and phrases like “attack on civilized society,” authorities in Pennsylvania are buckling down on a massive manhunt for Matthew Eric Frein, of Canadensis, Pa., who was named Tuesday afternoon as a chief suspect. Mr. Frein, police say, is a skilled survivalist with a particular hatred for police.
"He is at large and he is considered armed and extremely dangerous," Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said at a Tuesday press conference. "He’s expressed anti-government leanings in the past, especially toward law enforcement, and he has survivalist training.”
One officer, Cpl. Bryon Dickson, died and another one, Trooper Alex Douglass, was gravely wounded in an ambush with a .308 hunting rifle during a shift change at the Bloomington Grove barracks, where an entrance is only 50 feet away from dense woods.
“A man walking his dog spotted a vehicle slightly submerged in a swampy area near the barracks and called police, who found Frein's ID inside — along with shell casings, empty rifle cases, military gear and camouflage face paint,” NBC News reported. “Police said shell casings in the car and casings found at the home Frein shared with his parents matched the ones from the barracks shooting.”
As the manhunt on Tuesday stretched into day five, Gov. Tom Corbett ripped into the attacker, noting that the shooting wasn't just aimed at police but against “civilized society."
A state police lieutenant followed that up by telling the suspect, "You are a coward," and then warning him, “We will find you.”
The strong personal language illustrates the stakes of the manhunt and underscores that the shooting has deeply disturbed a police organization that feels like “someone has broken into our home,” as Trooper Richard Blair told The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.