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Police: Escaped prisoner Richard Matt shot and killed

MALONE, N.Y. -- The nearly three-week-long manhunt for two convicted killers who escaped from an upstate New York prison appears to have reached a critical point, with one of the fugitives shot and killed.

New York State Police said in a statement the shooting took place around 3:45 Friday afternoon in a wooded area in the town of Malone, New York, approximately 10 miles from the Canadian border.

"A member of law enforcement shot and killed a man believed to be Clinton Correctional Facility escapee Richard Matt," police said. "A positive identification is still pending."

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Law enforcement sources said escaped convict Richard Matt was shot and killed Friday, June 26, 2015 in Malone, New York. CBS News

A law enforcement source told CBS News a U.S. Border Patrol tactical unit was involved in the fatal shooting.

The source said officers were still pursuing David Sweat, who along with Matt used power tools to break out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, on June 6. The search area in Malone is roughly 40 miles northwest of the prison.

Escaped New York prisoner shot and killed: Source

Around 1:35 p.m., the prisoners attempted to carjack a camper on Route 30, firing gunshots at the vehicle, sources said. The driver called 911 after hearing the gunfire and contacted law enforcement again around 2 p.m. after spotting bullet holes in the camper.

The shooting led officers to a cabin Friday afternoon in Malone, where they discovered the smell of gunpowder, said Joseph D'Amico, superintendent of New York State Police. There were indications someone had recently been there and fled out the back door, he said.

While searching the property, officers heard coughs and detected movement, and tactical teams came upon Matt in the woods.

"They verbally challenged him, told him to put up his hands. And at that time, he was shot when he didn't comply," D'Amico said.

A 20-gauge shotgun was found on Matt, who didn't fire the weapon, D'Amico said. Matt was shot by a Border Patrol agent from Vermont, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said.

It wasn't clear if Matt and Sweat were together at the time of the shooting, authorities said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called them "dangerous, dangerous men," adding that Sweat has not been spotted.

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Escaped convict David Sweat is seen in an undated wanted poster released by the New York State Police. New York State Police/REUTERS

CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reported from a police roadblock near Malone that she saw dozens of law enforcement vehicles racing down the highway toward the shooting scene late Friday afternoon.

Sources told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton the search for Sweat continued into the night, with officers positioned 25 yards apart along a perimeter. Floodlights and night vision goggles were being used, along with canine units.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been hunting for the pair since their escape, canvassing the state from the Pennsylvania state line to the Canadian border, primarily in rugged and heavily wooded areas. Malone, where Matt was shot, is located about 10 miles from the border.

Just hours before the shooting, New York State Police said additional evidence had surfaced that prompted them to shift the focus of their search closer to Canada.

CBS affiliate WIVB-TV in Buffalo reported that this discovery was made after a resident of Franklin County told police his cabin had been burglarized. Authorities believe the fugitives stole a shotgun from that location.

Two employees of the prison, guard Gene Palmer and Joyce Mitchell, an instructor in the tailor shop where Matt and Sweat worked, have been charged with assisting in the escape. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Sweat, 35, was serving a life sentence without parole in the killing of a sheriff's deputy. Matt, who turned 49 on Thursday, was doing 25 years to life in the kidnapping, torture and hacksaw dismemberment of his former boss.