After almost seven weeks of evading police in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, anti-government survivalist Eric Frein (formerly at the top of the FBI’s Most Wanted list) has been captured and thrown in jail without a fight. And amazingly, without getting shot five times in the back.
The 31-year-old Frein is a self-taught survivalist with an intense hatred of police. On September 12th, he made national headlines after using a sniper rifle to shoot two Pennsylvania troopers outside of their barracks; Trooper Bryon Dickson was killed, and Alex Douglas was injured.
Police almost immediately identified Frein when his Jeep was discovered bogged down in a swamp in the woods nearby. The Jeep was what many police would call an “orgy of evidence,” containing Frein’s ID, weapons, and anti-government and survivalist literature. At least two explosive devices were recovered, including a pair of functional pipe bombs.
Local area schools were shut down, as Frein was quite rightly listed as “armed and extremely dangerous.” An apparent Second Amendment fan, Frein owned a collection of weapons, and was said to have taken with him the sniper rifle and at least one handgun. He knew how to use them as well. His father said of the practiced shooter:
“He doesn’t miss.”
During the manhunt, police discovered an abandoned campsite used by Frein, and found an AK-47 style assault rifle, a pack of Serbian cigarettes, soiled diapers, and a journal detailing his exploits. In it, he explicitly described the shooting, describing how the Dickson’s body fell “still and quiet” to the ground.
They very nearly caught him several times before, once when Frein used his cell phone to try contacting his parents. They traced the signal to an area about three miles away, but Frein was already gone. He was, however, sighted several more times by locals during the manhunt.
The game of cat-and-mouse continued for some time in the rugged, mountainous area; and a “game” it was. At least to Frein, who by all accounts seemed to be enjoying the pursuit immensely.
Police haven’t yet released the exact details of his capture. What we know right now is that he was taken into custody at an abandoned airplane hangar, and surrendered to police without a fight. No shots were fired, though he had in his possession at the rifle and a handgun. Which is pretty amazing, considering how many shots have been fired into unarmed peoples’ backs for a lot less.
Good thing he didn’t “charge” at anyone.
Frein remains in custody right now on charges of first degree murder, assault with intent, two counts possession of weapons of mass destruction for the pipe bombs, and several (dozen) others.
Frein hasn’t made a statement yet, but it should be interesting to hear his perspective once further details are released.