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Suspect in Pennsylvania trooper’s slaying continues to elude police

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Posted at 2:50 PM, Sep 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-21 16:50:20-04
By Chris Welch, Sonia Moghe and Ray Sanchez

CNN

CANADENSIS, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Authorities continued to search Sunday for the suspect in the ambush of two Pennsylvania state troopers that left one dead nine days ago.

No contact was made with suspect Eric Matthew Frein overnight, a spokesman for the state police said Sunday morning.

Trooper Tom Kelly said that, while a shelter-in-place order for residents near the primary search area has been lifted, people should stay out of the woods where law enforcement officers are looking for the self-taught survivalist.

On Friday it appeared authorities were closing in on Frein, who being sought in the death of Cpl. Byron Dickson in a September 12 ambush outside the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Blooming Grove. He is also suspected of wounding another officer.

Police on Friday had surrounded an area where Frein was believed to be hiding, the chairman of Barrett Township board of supervisors, Ralph Megliola, said. He added that he was unaware if there had been any credible sightings of Frein since then.

The area is not far from Frein’s family home in Canadensis, in the Poconos.

There were gunshots in the area but it was unclear who had fired them.

Saturday brought no new developments. Authorities told residents in the Price and Barrett townships of Monroe County that night that they could leave their homes but to be vigilant for anything that seemed unusual.

As many as 400 law enforcement officers were involved in the search, including members of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI.

Canadensis is about 20 miles from the site where Dickson was shot.

The FBI has placed Frein on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Frein is a survivalist with an extensive shooting background and a grudge against law enforcement, officials have said.

Mohawk-style haircut

Frein apparently cut his hair into a mohawk style before the attack on police and was active in a military simulation unit that re-enacted Cold War-era European conflicts, officials said.

His FBI most-wanted poster describes him as a “heavy smoker, a weapons enthusiast, and a survivalist. He claims to have fought with Serbians in Africa, and he has studied Russian and Serbian languages.”

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Wednesday that investigators know Frein “has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder.”

“He has very strong feelings about law enforcement and seems to be very angry with a lot of things that go on in our society.”

Police official: ‘We are coming for you’

State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Frein has an apparent fascination with Eastern European armies, their history and attire. His simulation group — which Bivens declined to name — would stage re-enactments using Airsoft guns.

In this case, though, authorities say Frein is using live ammunition and shooting to kill.

Bivens said Frein has “his head shaved on the sides with long hair on top,” wider than a “mohawk” haircut, apparently as part of his mental preparation for his attacks on the troopers. The hairstyle is “completely different from what he had worn for years.”

In words directed at Frein, Bivens was blunt.

“If you are cowering in some cool damp place,” Bivens said, “we are coming for you. It is only a matter of time until we bring you to justice for committing these cowardly acts.”

CNN’s Chris Welch and Sonia Moghe reported from northeast Pennsylvania while Ray Sanchez reported and wrote from New York. CNN’s Steve Almasy, Ralph Ellis and Jason Carroll contributed to this report.

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