BLOOMING GROVE, Pa. (AP) — Two troopers were ambushed outside a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania during a late-night shift change, leaving one dead and another injured, and authorities scoured the densely wooded countryside and beyond on Saturday looking for the shooter or shooters.
One trooper was leaving the barracks in Blooming Grove, Pike County, and another was arriving when shots were fired at 10:50 p.m. Friday, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said.
He identified the dead lawman as Cpl. Bryon Dickson and said Trooper Alex Douglass was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
“This attack was an ambush. Our troopers were . shot without warning and really had no chance to defend themselves,” Noonan told reporters Saturday afternoon. “It’s a cowardly attack. It’s an attack upon all of us in society.”
Noonan provided few details on the shooting but said the attack was directed at state police.
“It has touched us to the core that such a thing could happen,” he said.
Law enforcement officials from across the region, including New York and New Jersey, descended on the Pocono Mountains to help with the search on foot and by helicopter. The Blooming Grove barracks is in a wooded area, surrounded by state game lands.
Police interviewed a man they called a “person of interest” but Noonan said authorities are talking to hundreds of people as part of the investigation. He stressed the man is not a suspect.
Several roads around the barracks, including parts of Interstate 84, were closed Saturday. Blooming Grove is a township of about 4,000 people about 35 miles east of Scranton.
Trooper Adam Reed, a state police spokesman, said the Blooming Grove barracks covers most of Pike County, which runs along the Delaware River and borders New Jersey and New York.
“There’s a lot of rural area up where they patrol,” he said. “As the primary police force in the county, they’re going to respond to anything and everything.”
Gov. Tom Corbett said he was praying for the slain trooper’s family as well as the injured colleague.
“Every attack on an officer of the law is an attack on our state, our country and civilized society,” Corbett said in a statement. “The incident in Blooming Grove shows, once again, that our first responders face constant danger in order that the rest of us may live in peace and safety.”
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