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Sunday, June 28, 2015
MANHUNT OVER: Prisoner shot, caught alive in NY
Escaped cop killer David Sweat was shot by a New York State trooper near the Canadian border and caught alive Sunday afternoon, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
Sweat, 35, had been on the run since he and another inmate Richard Matt broke out of the maximum security prison in Dannemora, N.Y., on June 6. The manhunt for the two killers involved 1,200 law enforcement personnel.
Sweat was shot Sunday afternoon in the town of Constable, just a couple of miles from Canada, Fox News reported.
The convict was in stable condition and his injury was not considered life threatening.
Sen Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Associated Press there were no reports any officers were hurt in the apprehension of Sweat.
Schumer said federal law enforcement officials told him Sweat was shot twice and coughing up blood as he was taken to the hospital
State police had flooded the area Saturday night after developing evidence that Sweat was there. Sweat was walking along a road Sunday when troopers spotted him and then confronted him, the sources told Fox News.
After being shot, Sweat was taken by ambulance to the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, just south of Constable.
On Friday, Matt, 49, was killed by a border patrol agent near the town of Malone in northern New York, about 30 miles from the prison.
An autopsy showed Matt had been shot three times in the head, state police said Sunday. Officials say Matt also had bug bites on his legs, blisters and minor abrasions that would be expected for someone who had been living in the woods.
A strong odor of alcohol emanated from his body after he was gunned down in the woods, the paper said late Saturday, citing a law enforcement source. Matt was also sick, possibly after consuming spoiled food or bad water, the source told the paper.
The search for Sweat, 35, had entered its 23rd day Sunday, and was hampered earlier in the day by heavy rain.
The indication Matt was ill came after searchers found soiled underwear at a burglarized cabin Wednesday, the Buffalo News said.
A DNA test showed the underwear belonged to Matt, the paper said.
The paper also reported that based on his clothes and appearance, it looked like Matt had not bathed in a long time and had spent a great deal of time on the lam in the outdoors.
The search for Sweat was focused on a 22-square mile area encompassing thick forests and heavy brush, about 30 miles from the Clinton Correctional Facility.
Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill told Fox News on Saturday that police were very motivated after Friday's events, saying Sweat is likely fatigued, increasing the chances he would slip up.
"He's been out of prison for three weeks. He's been on the run for three weeks," Mulverhill said. "He's in this area, he's now lost his cellmate, his escapemate is gone, he's alone."
"If he's in this perimeter, we're pushing him we're moving him around," Mulverhill said. He's tired, he's going to make a mistake."
Authorities said Matt was shot by a border patrol agent when he failed to comply with orders to show his hands. A 20-gauge shotgun was found on Matt, though he didn’t fire it at officers, authorities said.
"They verbally challenged him, told him to put up his hands. And at that time, he was shot when he didn't comply," New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said at a news conference late Friday.
The breakthrough came Friday shortly before 2 p.m., when a person towing a camper head a loud sound and thought a tire had blown out. Finding the tire intact, the driver drove another eight miles before discovering a bullet hole.
Authorities converged on the location where the sound was heard and discovered the smell of gunfire inside a cabin. D’Amico said there was also evidence someone had fled out the back door.
A noise -- perhaps a cough -- ultimately did Matt in. A border patrol team discovered Matt, who was shot after failing to heed a command to raise his hands.
"As we were doing the ground search in the area, there was movement detected by officers on the ground, what they believed to be coughs. So they knew that they were dealing with humans as opposed to wildlife," he said.
"We have a lot of people in the area. We have canines and we have a decent perimeter set up and we're searching for Sweat at this time," he said.
Mitch Johnson said one of his best friends checked on his hunting cabin in Malone Friday afternoon and called police after noticing the scent of grape flavored gin as soon as he stepped into his cabin and spotting the bottle that had gone untouched for years resting on a kitchen table.
Johnson said his friend, correction officer Bob Willett, told him he summoned police about an hour before Matt was fatally shot and then heard a flurry of gun blasts.
Sweat was serving a sentence of life without parole in the killing of a sheriff's deputy in Broome County in 2002. Matt was serving 25 years to life for the killing and dismembering of his former boss.
A civilian worker at the prison Joyce Mitchell has been charged with helping the killers flee by giving them hacksaw blades, chisels and other tools. She has pleaded not guilty.
On June 24, authorities charged Clinton correction officer Gene Palmer with promoting prison contraband, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct. Officials said he gave the two prisoners the frozen hamburger meat Joyce Mitchell had used to hide the tools she smuggled to Sweat and Matt. Palmer's attorney said he had no knowledge that the meat contained hacksaw blades, a bit and a screwdriver.
The Associated Press and Fox News' Rick Leventhal contributed to this report.