A survivalist suspected of an ambush attack last week on two Pennsylvania troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, is a member of an Eastern European Cold War re-enactment group, state police said on Wednesday.
Police said at a news conference that the group has roots in eastern Pennsylvania, but declined to identify it and did not elaborate on its activities or its links to Eastern Europe.
Officials showed reporters photos of the suspect, Eric Matthew Frein, in military garb. Further details were not immediately available.
An arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday for Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pennsylvania. Police described him as an anti-law enforcement survivalist and said he was armed and extremely dangerous. Frein is facing a charge of first-degree murder, among other charges.
The shooting late on Friday outside the Blooming Grove barracks, about 100 miles north of Philadelphia, killed Corporal Bryon Dickson, 38, and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass, 31. The officers were shot during a shift change.
Police said on Wednesday they were still searching the area near Blooming Grove, a township of about 5,000 people in the Pocono Mountains near Pennsylvania’s border with New York. But they conceded that the suspect could have fled the area.
A partially submerged green Jeep was found in a pond in the woods about two miles from the barracks, police said on Tuesday. A search of the vehicle turned up shell casings that matched those found in a sniper’s lair discovered in woods overlooking the barracks.
Also found in the vehicle were Frein’s driver’s license, Social Security card and vehicle registration, among other evidence, according to the court documents seeking the arrest warrant.
A search of his parents’ home in Canadensis, where police said Frein was living, turned up matching shell casings and a book titled “Sniper Training and Employment,” the documents said.
Frein’s father, a retired U.S. Army major, told investigators he had trained his son to shoot and described him as an excellent marksman.
(Writing by Frank McGurty)