US police: Ambush suspect’s journal ‘chilling’
Authorities say a journal left by the man suspected of opening fire outside a Pennsylvania State Police barracks provides a “cold-blooded and absolutely chilling account” of the night he allegedly killed one trooper and injured a second.
Eric Frein wrote that he saw his shot and took it, watching from a distance as his victim — who turned out to be Cpl. Bryon Dickson — dropped to the ground. “I was surprised at how quick,” he wrote, according to police.
Authorities found the multipage journal in a bag of trash at a wooded campsite they believe was used by the 31-year-old suspect. The document describes how Frein fled the shooting scene in a Jeep, but inadvertently ran into a retention pond and took off on foot, a botched getaway he termed a “disaster,” according to a police affidavit filed Wednesday.
Frein is charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in the Sept. 12 ambush that killed Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass. Hundreds of law enforcement officials have been looking for Frein — described by authorities as a survivalist and expert marksman with a grudge against law enforcement — in the woods around his parents’ home in the Pocono Mountains.
The journal was found Sept. 29, when authorities discovered a hastily abandoned campsite at which they also found explosives, ammunition, food, clothing and a water bottle whose DNA matched Frein’s, according to the affidavit.
Authorities are analyzing the document but are convinced it was written by him.
“I will tell you, after reading this cold-blooded and absolutely chilling account, I can only describe Eric Frein’s actions as pure evil,” said Lt. Col. George Bivens at a news conference Wednesday.
Bivens said the journal contains details that only would’ve been known by the shooter. Notably, police said, the author does not identify the troopers by name, suggesting they were targeted at random.
After describing how the first victim dropped to the ground after being shot, the journal’s author wrote: “I took a follow-up shot on his head/neck area. He was still and quiet after that. Another cop approached the one I just shot. As he went to kneel, I took a shot at him and (he) jumped in the door. His legs were visible and still,” according to the affidavit.
The shooter then ran to his Jeep and sped off. He turned down an access road to avoid a roadblock and wound up in the retention pond, the journal said.
“Disaster,” Frein allegedly wrote.
Other items found by police — including Frein’s checkbook and phone — indicate he might have left the campsite in a hurry under pressure from the manhunt. Police say he used the phone to call his parents six days after the shooting, and they were able to trace the signal to a location about three miles (five kilometers) from the home.
Officers believe they have spotted Frein in the forest, but the distance and rugged terrain allowed him to slip away.
Rubinkam reported from northeastern Pennsylvania. Associated Press writer Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia contributed to this report.