CANADENSIS Pa. (Reuters) - The FBI on Thursday added the name of the suspect in last week’s ambush of two Pennsylvania troopers to its list of the 10 most wanted fugitives, almost a week after a manhunt began for the person who killed one officer and wounded another.
Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pennsylvania, has been identified as the prime suspect in the fatal shooting of Corporal Bryon Dickson, 38, and the wounding of Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, outside a state police barracks in Blooming Grove late last Friday.
The FBI’s “10 most wanted” designation came hours after thousands of law enforcement officers from across the country joined family members and other mourners at funeral services for Dickson in nearby Scranton.
The FBI released more details about the suspect on Thursday.
“Frein is known to be a heavy smoker, a weapons enthusiast, and a survivalist. He claims to have fought with Serbians in Africa, and he has studied Russian and Serbian languages,” reads the FBI’s “most wanted” poster, which offers a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his capture.
Police said earlier that Frein was a member of an unidentified role-playing group that dressed in Cold War military uniforms and assumed the parts of soldiers from Eastern European countries. He was described as having “a grudge against law enforcement.”
In one of two photos of Frein released by authorities, the suspect is dressed in a military uniform and cap.
Police officers pushed ahead with a search of the thick woods surrounding the barracks in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Blooming Grove where the ambush took place in a parking lot during a shift change.
Late on Thursday afternoon, a caravan of police cars and a military-style assault vehicle loaded with camouflaged troopers was seen racing to a field in Marshalls Creek, 35 miles north of the barracks. A trooper said they were checking a report of a possible sighting.
Off a dirt road in nearby Canadensis, officers stood guard outside a modest Cape Cod-style house belonging to Frein’s parents, where police say the suspect lived. No one came to answer a knock on the front door of the house.
“It’s almost too much to think that someone could hate that much,” said Esther Bender, who has lived in the neighborhood for 37 years. “I really hope they find him.”
Writing and additional reporting by Frank McGurty in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney