He’s a survivalist with an extensive shooting background and a grudge against law enforcement, officials say.
And now authorities worry the man suspected of gunning down two Pennsylvania State Police troopers may be on the hunt for more officers.
Eric Matthew Frein “has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder,” Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan told reporters Tuesday.
“He has very strong feelings about law enforcement and seems to be very angry with a lot of things that go on in our society,” Noonan said.
Police say he’s responsible for the chaotic, bloody scene Friday night at the state police barracks in Blooming Grove, Penn.
Now, some 200 officers are scouring eastern Pennsylvania for Frein. The manhunt has prompted schools in the area to close Wednesday.
‘Get him inside’
Cpl. Bryon Dickson was just ending his shift around 11:50 p.m. Friday when he walked out the station’s front door. He barely made it outside when a gunman shot him multiple times, a probable cause affidavit said.
Another officer who saw Dickson on the ground came outside to help, the affidavit said. But as Dickson told her what happened, another shot pierced through the air.
According to the documents, Dickson asked his colleague to “get him inside.” But she couldn’t.
At about the same time, a third officer headed in to start his overnight shift. But as Trooper Alex Douglass walked toward the front door, he, too, was shot, the affidavit said.
While Douglass managed to crawl into the station, other officers had to devise a plan to safely move Dickson inside. They swooped into the front of the building in a marked SUV to block troopers as they brought Dickson into the building.
But it was too late. Dickson was declared dead at the station.
Douglass was rushed to a hospital in Scranton and is recovering from a gunshot wound to the pelvic area.
Submerged Jeep found
On Monday morning, three days after the attack, a man walking his dog in a wooded area of Pike County noticed a green Jeep slightly submerged in a retention pond, according to the affidavit.
As he walked closer, he noticed no one was inside.
But when troopers executed a search warrant, they found a cache of items inside: two spent .308 cartridge casings, camouflage face paint, military gear and “various information concerning foreign embassy’s,” the affidavit aid. They also found Frein’s driver’s license and Social Security card.
A survivalist and an Eagle Scout
Frein, 31, is a survivalist by hobby who lives in Monroe County, authorities said. Noonan said anyone who might know something about Frein or spot him should contact authorities right away.
But a friend of the suspect described Frein as an Eagle Scout and “a pretty rational guy.”
“He’s intelligent. When people say that he’s a survivalist, there’s almost somewhat of a negative connotation to that,” the friend, who wanted to be identified only as “Jack,” told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
“He definitely let his opinions about the government be known,” Jack said.
“He was obviously a big critic of the federal government, but he never specifically targeted police when he was talking to me. No indications of really any malice towards law enforcement in particular. Most of his aggression was (toward) the federal government.”
Frein’s father told authorities that two firearms were missing from the family’s house, including an AK-47 and a rifle.
The father said his son grew up with guns and was a member of his high school’s rifle club. When Frein shoots, his father told authorities, he “doesn’t miss.”
Pennsylvania authorities are working with the FBI and others throughout the country to sift through tips that have come in the case, officials said.
With the hunt for the suspected gunman still under way, one school district in the vicinity of the shooting announced it was canceling classes on Wednesday.
Pocono Mountain School District said the decision was made “due to safety concerns of our students at bus stops with an armed and dangerous gunman on the loose.”