Investigators found a journal left by ambush suspect Eric Frein that describes how he opened fire on two state troopers outside a rural police barracks — watching one of his victims fall "still and quiet" — and then made his escape, authorities said Wednesday.
Frein wrote how he "got a shot around 11 p.m. and took it. He dropped. I was surprised at how quick," according to Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens, who read from the multipage journal that authorities said they found last week at a campsite used by Frein.
The journal describes how Frein fled in a Jeep, ran it into a swamp and took off on foot — a botched getaway Frein termed a "disaster," said Bivens.
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The waterlogged document was found Sept. 29, when authorities discovered a campsite at which they also found explosives, ammunition, food, water and clothing. Authorities are analyzing it, but Bivens said he is convinced it was written by Frein, who is charged in the deadly attack that killed one trooper and seriously injured a second.
"I will tell you, after reading this cold-blooded and absolutely chilling account, I can only describe Eric Frein's actions as pure evil," he said.
Hundreds of law enforcement officials have been looking for Frein — described by authorities as a 31-year-old survivalist and expert marksman with a grudge against law enforcement — in the woods around his parents' home in Canadensis, in the Pocono Mountains.
Officers believe they have spotted Frein in the forest, but the distance and rugged terrain allowed him to slip away.
The most recent sighting came Tuesday afternoon, when an officer thought he had a brief glimpse of Frein from about 200 yards away, Bivens said. That was the fourth sighting by police or the community since Friday, he said.
Tactical teams have also found evidence that Frein hid and made small fires in the crevices of a 40-foot rock face, Bivens said.
"We will get Frein. Whether that is today, whether that is tomorrow or whether that is next week remains to be seen," said Bivens, giving an update on the manhunt 26 days after the late-night ambush that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounded Trooper Alex Douglass.
Bivens said the journal contains details that only the shooter would know. Notably, police said, the author does not identify the troopers by name, suggesting they were targeted at random.
After describing how the first victim — Dickson — dropped to the ground after being shot, the author wrote: "I took a follow-up shot on his head and neck area. He was still and quiet after that. Another cop approached the one I just shot. As he went to kneel, I took a shot at him and (he) jumped in the door. His legs were visible and still," according to Bivens.
The shooter then ran to his Jeep and sped off, but hit a roadblock about a half-mile away, according to the document. He turned onto an access road, dimmed his headlights after hearing choppers overhead, missed a turn and "drove straight into" the swamp, the journal said.
"Disaster," Frein allegedly wrote.
In addition to confirming the journal's existence, authorities also elaborated Wednesday on the two pipe bombs they found at the campsite. They were packed with metal shrapnel, along with explosive powder consistent with the kind of powder found in Frein's bedroom, said Sam Rabadi, special agent in charge of the Pennsylvania field office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"The design is simple, but very dangerous and could have caused significant injury to anyone in the vicinity," he said.
Authorities searching Frein's bedroom also found galvanized steel pipe, end caps, fuses and other bomb-making materials, Rabadi said. They believe that Frein might have built additional, "and perhaps more lethal, explosive bombs capable of causing severe injury or worse," Rabadi said.
Based on the discovery of the pipe bombs, police filed additional charges against Frein on Wednesday — two counts of possession of weapons of mass destruction.