Northeast

Residents return home as cops hunt suspect in Pennsylvania trooper ambush

Gunfire exchanged last night between officials and suspect

 

State police lifted a shelter in place order for residents in an area of northeastern Pennsylvania late Saturday where authorities are searching for the man suspected in the fatal shooting of a Pennsylvania State Police trooper.

State police spokeswoman Maria Finn said in an emailed statement late Saturday that residents should use extreme caution as they move back into their homes in Barrett and Price Townships. She said police strongly recommend that residents stay inside and not enter the dense woods were officers are searching for Eric Frein.

The self-taught survivalist is accused in last week's deadly ambush at a state police barracks. Officers are trying to flush 31-year-old Frein out of the boggy woodlands near where he lived with his parents.

The development came a day after gunfire erupted Friday in the area where cops in bulletproof vests were searching for Frein.

The shots were reported around 6:40 p.m. Friday, a Monroe County 911 dispatcher said. Authorities haven’t said if there were any injuries.

Police have been largely silent about the details of their search, including how big of an area they are combing, whether they have the suspected shooter surrounded or how much longer it will be before residents can move about freely.

Police have charged Frein with ambushing Cpl. Bryon Dickson outside a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania on Sept. 12. Frein, a self-described survivalist with a grudge against law enforcement and government, is also accused of wounding another trooper.

As state police appeared to undergo a shift change, an unmarked helicopter flew overhead early Saturday, its lights off.

Frein was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted list, and hundreds of law enforcement officials have been searching for him in the dense woodlands surrounding his home in Canadensis. Schools in the area were closed again Friday.

Canadensis resident Richard Barry couldn't get home from work Friday night before the roadblocks went up. Barry said Saturday morning that he heard from family members who were at home and they told him police were going through their yard and the dog was barking.

Worried about his family, he said he preferred to wait it out at the police line in hopes of hearing something rather than staying overnight at the firehouse.

"I'm hoping that sooner or later he (Frein) just says 'I give up. You win,'" Barry said.

The mountain forest canopy provides cover for anyone who doesn't want to be found and a suspect has his pick of places to break into and steal food. Pike County, where the barracks are located, boasts more than 14,000 seasonal or recreational homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report