Canadensis, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Police in Pennsylvania appeared to be closing in Friday night on the suspect in the slaying of a state trooper.
A local government official told CNN that police surrounded a home where Eric Matthew Frein was believed to be hiding. The home, which was allegedly broken into, is not far from Frein’s family home in Canadensis, in the Poconos Mountains.
But a police spokesman involved in the case could not confirm to CNN that Frein had been surrounded.
Police exchanged gunfire in the area with an individual believed to be Frein, the government official said.
State police asked residents in the Price and Barrett townships of Monroe County to stay inside their homes due to the police activity. The public was asked to stay away from windows and not to travel to the area.
Frein, 31, is being sought in the death of Cpl. Byron Dickson in a September 12 ambush outside the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Blooming Grove. He’s also suspected of wounding another officer.
CNN’s Jason Carroll reported that Canadensis is 30-40 miles from the site where Dickson was shot.
The FBI has placed Frein on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Frein is a survivalist with an extensive shooting background and a grudge against law enforcement, officials said.
Frein apparently cut his hair into a mohawk style before the attack on police and was active in a military simulation unit that re-enacted Cold War-era European conflicts, officials said.
His FBI most-wanted poster describes him as 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.”
State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Wednesday investigators know Frein “has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder.”
“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.”
Studies Eastern European military
State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Frein has an apparent fascination with Eastern European armies, their history and attire. His simulation group — which Bivens declined to name — would stage re-enactments using Airsoft guns.
In this case, though, authorities say Frein is using live ammunition and shooting to kill.
Bivens said Frein has “his head shaved on the sides with long hair on top,” wider than a “mohawk” haircut, apparently as part of his mental preparation for his attacks on the troopers. The hairstyle is “completely different from what he had worn for years.
In words directed at Frein, Bivens was blunt.
“If you are cowering in some cool damp place,” Bivens said, “We are coming for you. It is only a matter of time until we bring you to justice for committing these cowardly acts.”