CANADENSIS, Pa. (AP) - Nine days after a gunman opened fire in a deadly ambush at a Pennsylvania state police barracks, authorities said Sunday they have recovered one of the weapons he was carrying and believe they are hot on his trail.
Investigators said they believe the alleged gunman they describe as a self-taught survivalist had been planning a confrontation with law enforcement for months, if not years.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens revealed a few more details about the manhunt for Eric Frein, saying trackers have discovered items he hid or abandoned in the woods - including a gun they believe he had been carrying while on the run.
"We are pushing him hard, he is no longer safe and I am confident he will be apprehended," Bivens said.
The search is focusing on a several square-mile area on the border of Pike and Monroe counties around the village where Frein grew up, Bivens said.
"We know that Frein has prepared and planned extensively for months, and maybe years," Bivens said. "He planned his attack and his retreat."
Bivens said Frein had the advantage of knowing the "rugged terrain" around the area initially, but does not any longer.
"Our tactical operations people now also know his backyard, the area he once felt safe in," Bivens said.
No contact had been made with Frein, who was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list after the Sept. 12 shooting at a nearby police barracks that left one trooper dead and a second wounded.
Bivens said authorities did not yet know if the gun they recovered had been used in the shooting.
Although Bivens did not say what police believe was Frein's motive, he said Frein had been planning a confrontation with police.
Bivens said Frein had covered perhaps 15 or 20 miles since the shooting last week and authorities do not believe he has contacted his family. Police also have no information that he's being helped by anyone, Bivens said.
Authorities lifted a shelter-in-place order on Saturday night in the Pocono Mountains community where the search has focused, although they continued to urge residents to be vigilant Sunday as the manhunt continues.
Bivens asked residents to report any shelters or bunkers that Frein may have constructed and also asked hunters to review footage from trail cameras set up to track wildlife.
Roadblocks have been removed outside the northeastern Pennsylvania community where police searched for the suspect in last week's deadly police barracks ambush. But authorities urged residents to remain vigilant as the manhunt reaches its ninth day.
State police said Sunday they've still had no contact with 31-year-old Eric Frein (freen) despite the intensive search of the neighborhood where he lived with his parents in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.
Police lifted a shelter-in-place order Saturday night and eased travel restrictions in the area. But residents were urged to take "extreme caution" as the search continues for a man described as a survivalist with a grudge against police.
Authorities say Frein used a high-powered rifle to open fire from the woods near a state police barracks on Sept. 12, killing one trooper and wounding a second.
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