Pennsylvania police say sniper’s journal shows ‘true evil exists’
Pennsylvania police have found a journal describing in chilling detail the ambush that killed a state trooper and wounded another nearly four weeks ago at a barracks in the Poconos Mountains, officials said on Wednesday.
The journal was found about two weeks ago, along with two pipe bombs resembling hand grenades that police say survivalist Eric Frein left at a campsite in the deep woods, possibly as search teams were closing in on him during the manhunt.
Police declined to say on Wednesday why they had waited to disclose the find.
“I took a shot at him,” reads one of the journal entries. “He dropped … I was surprised how quick,” referring to one of officers shot on Sept. 12. “He was still and quiet after.”
The journal went on to describe the second shooting. “Another cop approached the one I just shot,” it reads. “As he went to kneel, I took a shot at him … His legs were visible and still.”
Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police, who read excerpts during a news conference at the ambush site, said the passages were cold-blooded and proof that “true evil” exists.
The journal, which runs over several pages, also described how the getaway quickly became a “disaster” after Frein apparently crashed a Jeep belonging to his parents into a pond as he scrambled to find an escape route as helicopters circled overhead and police set up roadblocks.
“Hearing helos, I just used my marker lights, missed the trail around a run-off pool and drove straight into it. Disaster!”
The ambush killed Corporal Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass. Bivens said investigators have no information that Frein specifically targeted the troopers. Instead they believe the sniper held a long-standing grudge against law enforcement.
State police also provided more details about bomb-making materials, including steel pipes, black powder and other items found in a bedroom in Frein’s parents’ home in nearby Canadensis. The discovery was first announced in the early days of the investigation.
Authorities also said they filed additional criminal charges against Frein, including possession of weapons of mass destruction. Frein, who is on the FBI’s Top 10 most wanted list, already faces first-degree murder charges.
Bivens displayed pictures of a rock structure in the woods where searchers found traces of campfires. Frein may have stayed there to avoid detection, they said.
(Reporting by Joe McDonald; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Eric Walsh)