Pocono Area Schools Closed After Possible Trooper Ambush Suspect Sighting

Students in the Poconos mountains were told to stay home from school Tuesday after two possible sightings of suspected Pennsylvania trooper ambush shooter Eric Frein.

All Pocono Mountain School District schools were closed Tuesday morning.

Northeastern Pennsylvania school district tightened security and police shifted their search after another reported sighting Monday of the suspect in a deadly state police ambush.

A local law enforcement official reported seeing suspect Eric Frein near the Swiftwater Post Office in the Pocono Mountains Monday night.

The post office is near Frein's alma mater, Pocono Mountain East High School, where a woman out for a walk last Friday night spotted a rifle-toting man with a mud-covered face police believe was Frein.

Frein, 31, is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks on Sept. 12, killing a trooper and seriously wounding another. Despite an intense manhunt, he remains on the loose more than a month after the deadly ambush.

State police have said they believe Frein, a self-taught survivalist, has a hatred of law enforcement and wants to target police, not the general public.

Still, additional officers from the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department were stationed at the district's Swiftwater campus Monday in light of Friday's sighting, to supplement the lone police officer who normally patrols that location, which, besides the high school, includes a junior high and elementary school.

As police ramped up their search efforts in the area in response to Friday's possible sighting, district officials moved outdoor after-school athletic practices to another campus. And late Monday, the district posted on its website a statement saying students would remain inside on Tuesday.

The statement said Superintendent Elizabeth Robison spoke to a state police official who "expressed his commitment to student safety and assured her that he will notify her immediately if he ever has a safety concern for any of our schools or campuses."

Something changed overnight and students were told to stay home early Tuesday.

Authorities had been searching for Frein in the woods around his parents' home in Canadensis but shifted their primary search area 5 or 6 miles to the southwest after Friday night's sighting. Lt. Col. George Bivens said over the weekend that police have put a "tremendous amount of pressure on him" and likely forced him to move.

State police said Monday that blood found at two homes in the search area is not linked to Frein. DNA testing ruled out any link to Frein in blood droplets found on a covered porch in the area. Material found on a back door at a second home near the first turned out not to be human blood.

Police believe Frein could be breaking into vacant cabins or vacation homes to look for food or take shelter.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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