Possible Eric Frein sighting near Pennsylvania high school
A man with mud on his face, carrying a rifle, was spotted near the Pocono Mountain East High School Friday night. Police believe the man could be Eric Frein.
Canadensis, Penn. — Authorities say a rifle-carrying man with a mud-covered face spotted in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains is believed to be the suspect in last month's deadly ambush at a state police barracks.
State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens says the man was spotted Friday night near Pocono Mountain East High School by a woman out for a walk. Investigators say the man was about 15 to 20 feet from the woman
Col. Bivens also said blood has been found in the search and is being tested for a possible connection to Eric Frein.
Police believe the man seen near the high school was Eric Frein, who has eluded capture for more than a month despite an intense manhunt in the heavily wooded area around his parents' home in Canadensis.
Frein is charged in the Sept. 12 shooting that killed one trooper and wounded another. He is described by police as a survivalist with a grudge against law enforcement.
Alex Douglass, the Pennsylvania state trooper seriously wounded in the ambush was released from a hospital after more than a month of treatment but still faces a long road to recovery, his commander said Friday.
Trooper Douglass left Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton with a police escort on Thursday and was taken by ambulance to a rehabilitation facility.
"I would say his condition is improving. He has a very positive attitude," said Lt. Christopher Paris, Douglass' commander at the Blooming Grove barracks. "He's working very hard with his physical therapist while he was at the hospital, and he's looking to give the same amount of effort to a full-time rehabilitation regimen."
A sniper opened fire outside the barracks on Sept. 12, wounding Douglass and killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson. The late-night ambush has sparked an intensive manhunt for Eric Frein, the 31-year-old survivalist and expert marksman charged in the attack.
Police say Frein targeted Dickson and Douglass at random.
Shot in the pelvis, Douglass managed to crawl into the lobby of the barracks, where another trooper brought him into a secure portion of the station. He was flown to Geisinger and underwent surgery.
His departure from the hospital prompted tears among the medical staff.
"It was very emotional for everyone, because they had cared for him for so long," said Geisinger spokeswoman Wendy Wilson. "There were a lot of hugs, a lot of high-fives and a lot of well-wishes for him on his way."
Paris said there has been no discussion about Douglass returning to work.
"He endured a very serious injury, both orthopedically and in regards to some of the damage that he had," he said. "It's a very long road. He's taking it one step at a time, and his family is just concentrating on being there for him, as are we."
Asked if Douglass is walking, Paris said: "I know he has been working with the physical therapist to make strides toward that ultimate goal. Each day, he gets stronger and each day he does more."
He said Douglass and his family have been buoyed by the public's concern and support.