Under siege: People become prisoners in their own homes as authorities search for PA shooter



By RYAN GORMAN

Helicopters and drones overhead, random gunshots, commandoes and road blocks - this is no war zone, it's life behind the lines of the frantic search for accused cop killer Eric Frein.

Authorities in Pennsylvania have been combing the dense Pocono Mountains forest for Frein after police said he shot two State Police officers last week. Cops are on edge and residents are under siege.

"The amount of disruption that just one man has caused is unbelievable," a woman who lives within the roughly five-square-mile area of rural Monroe County where authorities have focused the bulk of their search.

Frein put Canadensis, a town about 40 miles southeast of Scranton, on alert after he ambushed and killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Tpr. Alex Douglass on September 12.

A lack of credible leads to tracking down Frein left authorities no choice but to lockdown residents Friday night as state, local and federal officers - many in full SWAT gear - began combing the forest for signs of the accused killer.

Officials are not saying much to locals, perhaps in order to stem a possible flow of information to Frein, but many are worried.

This has led thousands to start listening to the local police scanner and begin posting what they hear online.

"You'll turn the scanner on and 70 some people are listening and the word gets out the SWAT team is in you'll see 22,000 people, I think the whole town is listening," she added.

"Everybody has scanners and Facebook, everybody's posting all this stuff and I don't know what's true," said the married mother. "Thank God for social media, because otherwise we're really in the dark."

Reports of shots fired have been posted to Pocono Crime and a separate Facebook page dedicated to finding Frein and are shared among concerned residents, but the AOL source claims to have heard only one gun shot since the ordeal began.

Other rumors making the online rounds include reports of a man wearing all-black (as authorities have described Frein) lurking in their yards at night, a report of someone covering themselves with leaves in another yard and many other alleged sightings.

"You're hearing bits and pieces of stuff and trying to figure what's true and isn't true," the woman explained.

Reports of a Monday press conference raised locals' hopes that Frein had been found, but authorities only announced criminal charges pending his arrest.

People are hesitant to leave their homes, schools are closed until further notice and even errands have been put on hold. Many are not even going to work.

"This is the fourth day I've missed work," said the source. "[But] I'm glad they closed the schools."

People have become virtual prisoners in their homes as the search effort has only intensified while police work to tighten the noose around Frein's woods hideout.

"We are not even trying to go out," she said, adding that a trip to the supermarket turned into a gamble when police told her she might not be allowed back home.

Helicopters hover just above the tree line while drones circle the area at a height of about 1,000 feet, according to the source.

Police disclosed earlier this week they found several rounds of ammunition stashed in the woods, they believe it is Frein's.

Neighbors claim Frein was mostly quiet and kept to himself, she said. The source did not personally know the alleged shooter, but a woman who taught Frein in high school told her there was no indication he would ever go rogue like this.

"He was a little strange," she added.

The woman feels she and her family are safe but wants the siege to end because anything can still happen.

"It's the 'what if' that you don't know that is so scary."

Residents Unable to Go Home As Police Search for Eric Frein
Residents Unable to Go Home As Police Search for Eric Frein


Related links:
Governor confident ambush suspect will be caught
Police say rifle carried by ambush suspect found
Tense hunt in trooper ambush case hits 8 days