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- Eric Frein
- September, 2014
- First Degree Murder, Attempted Murder
- Apprehended after 7 week manhunt, charges pending
The arrest of Eric Frein:
He grew up shooting rifles and had a grudge against law-enforcement, ending up on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. That pretty much sums up who Eric Frein (pronounced FREEN) is, and the root of his notoriety.
Born in New Jersey on May 3, 1983, his biggest accomplishment in school was his ability to rank as the top scorer on Pocono Mountain High School's rifle team.
Police described him as a self-taught survivalist and war re-enactor. Frein belonged to a military re-enactors group, playing the part of a Serbian solder. He had a small part in a 2007 film about a concentration camp survivor and helped with props and historical references on a documentary about World War I.
Frein also had a grudge against the police, expressing anti-law enforcement views online and to people who knew him.
Frein didn't accomplish much in higher education either, attending East Stroudsburg University for one semester.
He was, however, charged with burglary and grand larceny in 2004, accused of stealing items from vendors at a World War II reenactment in Odessa, New York. Frein didn't attend his trial and was arrested in Pennsylvania as a fugitive from justice. He spent 109 days in jail and his fugitive status foreshadowed things to come.
Late at night on September 12, 2014 during the shift change outside the Troop barracks at the Pennsylvania State police in the Pocono Mountain Township of Blooming Grove Pennsylvania, a sniper open fire with a rifle.
Corporal Brian Dixon was hit and killed had another state trooper, Alex Douglass, was critically injured.
A few days after the shootings, a man found a 2001 Jeep Cherokee partially submerged in a retaining pond near the intersection of Pennsylvania Route 402 and US Route 6, roughly 2 miles of the scene of the shootings.
That car belonged to Frein's parents and evidence found showed Frein's Social Security card, bullet casings matched to the shooting, camouflage paint, and some information about foreign embassies.
A criminal complaint was lodged against Frein on September 16 and an arrest warrant came the next day, with a hefty, $175,000 price on his head.
An all points alert went out and his picture was plastered on road signs.
Nearly 200 officers were looking for him, including state police, local police and the FBI, U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
But this was a guy who knew how to live in the mountains and he avoided capture for seven torturous weeks, terrorizing people living in the area.
Local residents were evacuated from their homes or forced to remain inside. Roads were blocked, local events cancelled and schools were closed to protect the public while this fugitive was on the loose in what is a popular mountain resort area.
Trackers also found items that they think Frein hid or abandoned in the woods -- including soiled diapers, empty cigarette packs, an AK-47-style assault rifle and ammunition and two pipe bombs that were functional and capable of causing serious harm.
Eventually, he was caught by U.S. marshals without a struggle in an open field near an unused airport hangar at Birchwood Pocono airport, at an abandoned airfield.
Frein was not armed when he was apprehended was taken away without a struggle, wearing the handcuffs that were owned by Dickson, the trooper that he allegedly killed.
He suffered some facial wounds. U.S Marshall's said they happened when he was on the ground during his arrest. Pennsylvania State police said they happened while he was on the run.
The man and woman believed to be his parents declined to comment on his capture.
On November 13th, 2014, a few weeks after he was arrested, court documents were released revealing that Frein admitted the shootings, because he was dissatisfied with the government. He called the trooper killing as "assassination" in a police interview.
Also, those court documents say that Frein told his parents in a letter that he wanted to start a revolution. The Associated Press provided a copy of the letter released by police. It reads:
Our nation is far from what it was and what it should be. I have seen so many depressing changes made in my time that I cannot imagine what it must be like for you. There is so much wrong and on so many levels only passing through the crucible of another revolution can get us back the liberties we once had. I do not pretend to know what that revolution will look like or even if it would be successful.
Tension is high at the moment and the time seems right for a spark to ignite a fire in the hearts of men. What I have done has not been done before and it felt like it was worth a try.
If I am dead I would like to be buried in a wood casket (no lead lined casket!) so that my remains can return to where they came from. I realize that this may not be possible though, laws and what not, so don't sweat it. Also, light a candle for me at the Russian or Greek Orthodox church in Stroudsburg from time to time. It doesn't need to be during a liturgy, just whenever they are open. I am sure you can figure it out.
I do not have a death wish but I know the odds. I tried my best to do this thing without getting identified, but if you are reading this then I was not successful. If I am still alive and free know that I will do my best to remain as such. And as time goes by, if circumstances change, if my spark hit good tinder, then I may be able to return one day.
I am sorry. You guys are great parents, I am just not a good son. I squandered so much opportunity and support and rarely tried my best at anything. God knows I do not deserve the things I had, maybe He knew I would be sacrificing all of it in the end, or maybe this is just the final squander. Who knows.
I love you. Please forgive me of my many faults. And thanks for putting up with me for so long.
Frein faces terrorism charges in addition to charges of first-degree murder in Dickson's death and attempted murder in the wounding of Douglass. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.