Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)
After long search, Frein in custody at last
Trick-or-treating on Halloween night was on for Friday in Pike County, signaling a return to normalcy.
Trick-or-treating on Halloween night was on for Friday in Pike County, signaling a return to normalcy in the northeastern Pennsylvania county that had been on virtual lockdown for almost two months as local, state and federal police looked for the man said to have fired the shots that killed a state trooper and wounded another.
Last week, authorities announced the capture of Eric Frein, the sniper whose face was plastered across the state on highway electronic billboards and state Lottery machines, a sort of 21st-century “Most Wanted” post office poster. He was apprehended without incident, and was brought to court on Friday to face the first-degree murder and assault charges that he will most certainly be tried on. The local district attorney has vowed to seek the death penalty
The residents of the area, or at least some of them, took the time to get a glimpse of the man who had made their lives difficult over the past seven weeks, as police shut down a variety of activities and cordoned off public areas as they both sought Frein’s whereabouts as well as made certain as best they could that public safety was maintained.
Onlookers shouted “Are you sorry?” and “Why did you do it?” as the survivalist and marksman was led from court the morning after his capture near an abandoned hangar. Hundreds of local, state and federal law officers had taken part in the manhunt.
Frein, 31, had a gash on the bridge of his nose and a scrape over his left eye as he listened to charges that he killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass in a sniper attack outside their state police barracks Sept.
Halloween masks on the streets in the Pocono Mountains meant things could start getting back to normal, at least for some.
12. U.S. marshals who took him into custody said he suffered the injuries while they had him down on the pavement.
But Halloween masks on the streets in the Pocono Mountains meant things could start getting back to normal, at least for some. “It’s just been nervewracking, not knowing where he was, what his next step was, what he was going to do,” said Jody Welsh. Joe Fagan was the first in line to enter the courtroom. “To be honest, I just wanted to see what evil looked like,” he said. “He had zero emotion.”
Until his capture, Frein had some people beginning to wonder if law enforcement was up to the task, given the rugged terrain and the evident skill with which he eluded dogs, thermal-imaging cameras and teams of heavily armed officers. Sporadic sightings of the fugitive kept entire communities on edge: A woman claimed to have seen him outside a high school. A local cop spotted a mysterious man in green, prompting an intensive search that came up empty. There were other sightings in which Frein supposedly made himself visible to law enforcement, then vanished.
“To see him just walk past me was just a sigh of relief that he’s not in the woods,” said Welsh, who made sure she was on hand Friday as state police led Frein from his arraignment. “That everybody can continue on with their lives.”
We in Chester County know, however, that there are those who cannot return to the way life unfolded before Dickson and Douglass were shot. Those family and friends and colleagues of the troopers will find their rest is unsettled and their thoughts haunted, just as those connected with the lives of Kennett Square police officers Richard J. Posey and William W. Davis still find themselves today, more than 40 years after they were murdered outside their police station.