Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

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Pennsylvania State Police ambush - Eric Frein
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Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor
Eric Frein is escorted to a preliminary hearing on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 at the Pike County Courthouse in Milford, Pa. Frein, 31, of Canadensis, is the lone suspect in the Sept. 12, 2014 shooting outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks in Pike County that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounded Trooper Alex Douglass. Police say Frein led law enforcement on a 48-day manhunt through the Pocono woods before U.S. marshals captured him Oct. 30 near an abandoned airplane hangar. (Harry Fisher/Allentown Morning Call/TNS via Getty Images)
CRESCO, PA - OCTOBER 31: Scott Malkowski, Task Force Commander, US Marshals Service, Special Operations Group, talks with members of the media while he explains how Eric Matthew was captured on Thursday night, on October 31, 2014 in Cresco, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
Accused cop killer Eric Frein's mug shot taken after his Thursday night arrest. (Pike County Jail)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
Pennsylvania State Police say they remain confident that Eric Frein, the man suspected of killing a trooper in an ambush attack and injuring another, is still in the general search area.
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
MILFORD, PA - OCTOBER 31: Eric Frein arrives for arraignment to court on October 31, 2014 in Milford, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
First look inside abandoned hangar where Eric Frein hid from police: The search for suspected cop killer Eric Frein is over, but there are still questions about how he was able to stay on the run for so long. (WNEP-TV)
Eric Frein is escorted to his arraignment in the Pike County Courthouse on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 in Milord, Pa. (Harry Fisher/Allentown Morning Call/MCT via Getty Images)
CRESCO, PA - OCTOBER 31: A Pocono Police car sits on the route to the hangar where Eric Matthew was captured on Thursday night, on October 31, 2014 in Cresco, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
MILFORD, PA - OCTOBER 31: Eric Frein arrives for arraignment to court on October 31, 2014 in Milford, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
CRESCO, PA - OCTOBER 31: Scott Malkowski, Task Force Commander, US Marshals Service, Special Operations Group, show the map of the operation in which they captured Eric Matthew Frein on Thursday night while he talks with members of the media on October 31, 2014 in Cresco, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
MILFORD, PA - OCTOBER 31: A Pennsylvania State Police SWAT officer stands by as Eric Frein arrives at the Pike County Courthouse for his arraignment on October 31, 2014 in Milford, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
CRESCO, PA - OCTOBER 31: Scott Malkowski, Task Force Commander, US Marshals Service, Special Operations Group, show the map of the operation in which they captured Eric Matthew Frein on Thursday night while he talks with members of the media on October 31, 2014 in Cresco, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
MILFORD, PA - OCTOBER 31: Pennsylvania State Police SWAT officers arrive at the Pike County Courthouse for Eric Frein's arraignment on October 31, 2014 in Milford, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
CRESCO, PA - OCTOBER 31: A Pocono Police car sits on the route to the hangar where Eric Matthew was captured on Thursday night, on October 31, 2014 in Cresco, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
MILFORD, PA - OCTOBER 31: Lt. Col. George Bivens of the state police attends a press conference in the front of the court house after Eric Frein makes first court appearance on October 31, 2014 in Milford, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
MILFORD, PA - OCTOBER 31: Lt. Col. George Bivens of the state police speaks at a press conference in the front of the court house after Eric Frein makes first court appearance on October 31, 2014 in Milford, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
CRESCO, PA - OCTOBER 31: Scott Malkowski, Task Force Commander, US Marshals Service, Special Operations Group, gestures as he explain how Eric Matthew reacts when he was captured on Thursday night, while he talks with members of the media on October 31, 2014 in Cresco, Pennsylvania. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin insisted Thursday evening that he would seek the death penalty against Frein. (CNN)
Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan insisted that Frein was captured not because he was tired, but "because he was caught -- he had no choice." (CNN)
UNSPECIFIED - UNDATED: In this handout provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Eric Matthew Frein, 31, poses on an unspecified date and location. Eric Frein is being sought in the killing of State Trooper Bryon Dickson. (Photo by Federal Bureau of Investigation via Getty Images)
Pennsylvania State Police released images Wednesday of what they believe ambush suspect Eric Frein might look like now.
Pennsylvania State Police released images Wednesday of what they believe ambush suspect Eric Frein might look like now.
The Inn at Buck Hill, an abandoned Pocono Mountains resort that is being scoured by investigators as they hunt for accused cop killer Eric Frein. (Pennsylvania State Police)
One of the many caves search teams are tasked with clearing as they hunt down the wanted man. (Pennsylvania State Police)
Eric Frein is escorted to a preliminary hearing on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 at the Pike County Courthouse in Milford, Pa. Frein, 31, of Canadensis, is the lone suspect in the Sept. 12, 2014 shooting outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks in Pike County that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounded Trooper Alex Douglass. Police say Frein led law enforcement on a 48-day manhunt through the Pocono woods before U.S. marshals captured him Oct. 30 near an abandoned airplane hangar. (Harry Fisher/Allentown Morning Call/TNS via Getty Images)
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By MICHAEL RUBINKAM

Schools closed, kids stayed inside and authorities chased down several false sightings Wednesday in their hunt for the suspect in a fatal ambush outside a rural Pennsylvania State Police barracks.

Police released new details about the background of Eric Frein, a 31-year-old self-taught survivalist who authorities said recently shaved his head in a wide Mohawk, evidently as "part of the mental preparation to commit this cowardly act," Lt. Col. George Bivens said Wednesday afternoon.

Frein belonged to a military simulation unit based in eastern Pennsylvania whose members play the role of soldiers from Cold War-era eastern Europe, Bivens told reporters.

"In his current frame of mind, Frein appears to have assumed that role in real life," he said.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials spent a fifth full day Wednesday looking for the gunman who concealed himself outside the Blooming Grove barracks late Friday and shot two troopers with a rifle, killing one and wounding the second. Police named Frein the suspect after finding his abandoned SUV, which contained his driver's license and spent shell casings matching those at the crime scene.

Police To Trooper's Killer: 'You Are A Coward And We Will Get You'

Authorities have followed up on hundreds of tips, massing in a forested area at one point Wednesday after workers reported seeing an armed person wearing camouflage nearby. Police have been "getting sightings all over the place," but none have panned out so far, said Trooper Tom Kelly.

Frein, of Canadensis, Pennsylvania, is charged with killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson, a 38-year-old married father of two, and critically wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. Dickson's viewing was held Wednesday in the rotunda of Marywood University in Scranton, with Pennsylvania's attorney general among thousands of mourners paying respects. Gov. Tom Corbett plans to attend Dickson's funeral on Thursday.

State police have warned the public that Frein is dangerous, calling him an anti-law enforcement survivalist who has talked about committing mass murder. Two school districts closed Wednesday because of safety concerns for students and staff.

"Parents are so frightened for their children," said Pocono Mountain School Board member Annabella Lastowski. "People are wondering if the suspect is in the area or has fled the area. That is the unknown and that is what's bothering people the most."

She said her neighbors were keeping their school-age children inside.

Bivens said residents should remain "alert and vigilant," report suspicious activity, lock doors and keep house exteriors well lit. But he said he is "convinced Frein is engaged in a personal battle with law enforcement, particularly the Pennsylvania State Police, and will likely stay focused on that fight."

Frein has nursed an unspecified grudge against law enforcement and government in general at least since 2006, Bivens said.

In 2004, he was charged with burglary and grand larceny after police accused him of stealing items from vendors at a World War II re-enactment in Odessa, New York. He failed to show for his trial, and was arrested in Pennsylvania as a fugitive from justice, said Lt. Craig Gallow of the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department in New York.

Frein evidently tried to make his escape Friday night in a 2001 Jeep Cherokee, authorities said. Three days later, a man walking his dog stumbled across the partly submerged SUV in a swamp about 2 miles away and called 911.

As he has on previous days, Bivens used a news conference Wednesday to address the suspect directly: "In the event you are listening to this broadcast on a portable radio while cowering in some cold, damp hiding place, I want you to know one thing. Eric, we are coming for you. It is only a matter of time until we bring you to justice."

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Rubinkam reported from northeastern Pennsylvania.

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