Pennsylvania State Police are still on a manhunt for the suspected cop killer who opened fire at the Blooming Grove barracks in rural Pennsylvania last Friday (Sept. 12), killing one (Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38) and critically injuring another (Trooper Alex T. Douglass). The suspect, Eric Matthew Frein, 31, is from Canadensis, Pa. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Frein is thought to have held deep seated anti-law enforcement views since at least 2006, which he openly expressed online and to people he knew. He also reportedly had fantasies of committing mass shootings and openly spoke about them.
He reportedly lived with his parents until about two months ago. He has no known wife, girlfriend or children.
Frein was reportedly a member of the rifle club in high school. His father, E. Michael Frein, reportedly served in the Army for 28 years before retiring, taught his son to shoot and, when questioned by law enforcement, praised his shooting abilities, and said his son had an “excellent shot” and “doesn’t miss” his target. His father also said that a .308 rifle and AK-47 were missing from his house.
A friend, who only wanted to be identified as Jack said he had known Frein for “seven or eight years,” described Frein as “extremely intelligent” and “a pretty rational guy.” He admitted his friend was not a fan of the federal government. Jack also described him as a “survivalist,” meaning he is able to survive independently without depending on government, electricity or society. His friend also said Frein was an Eagle Scout. Jack denied that Frein had ever made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement.
Pennsylvania State Police, however, say Frein had, indeed, made such statements to people and some of the people they talked to about him were “not surprised.” Police have not disclosed who told them about Frein’s fantasies or when he discussed them.
Pennsylvania State Police have also said Frein belonged to a “military simulation unit,” where members reenact battles if they are soldiers fighting in World War II. Frein also participated in a number of war-making films. Police believe he may now be attempting to act out that fantasy in real life.
In the past, Frein has been arrested for theft in another state, but it is not known what state, when or whether or not he was convicted of the charge.
Police had no suspects in the attack until Monday, when an abandoned jeep was found in the woods, apparently stuck in a holding pond, about two miles from where the shooting occurred. The jeep was discovered by a man who happened to be walking his dog in the area and dialed 911. When police arrived at the scene, they found numerous pieces of evidence linking Frein to the shooting, including his social security card and shell casings that matched the ones used to kill the Pennsylvania State Police trooper.
Authorities do not believe leaving his jeep in the swamp was intentional. They believe he was attempting to escape when his jeep got stuck. They also found face paint and information on foreign embassies. Spent shell casings were also found in his bedroom.
Pennsylvania State Police announced Frein as their primary suspect in a news conference Tuesday. A warrant was issued for his arrest. Frein is charged with first degree murder, attempted murder, criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer, attempted criminal homicide of a law enforcement officer, assault of a law enforcement officer, discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure, possessing instruments of a crime and reckless endangerment.
He has also been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
As of right now, Frein remains at large. Since he was not suspected by the Pennsylvania State Police until four days after the shooting, he could very well be anywhere.
By Lindsey Dow