Police: Progress in barracks ambush investigation

Authorities said Tuesday they have made progress in their effort to catch the rifle-toting gunman who killed one trooper and critically wounded another outside a Pennsylvania State Police barracks.

Investigators will release “pertinent information” about the case at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, said Trooper Tom Kelly, a state police spokesman.

The assailant, using a .308-caliber rifle, killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, and critically wounded another trooper at the remote Blooming Grove barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday night, then slipped away.

The motive is unknown, but police said Monday it’s likely the gunman had a grievance against the state police.

Authorities released a likely profile of the gunman in hopes it might help authorities catch him. Authorities believe he may be an avid hunter or received firearms training — possibly from law enforcement or even the military. They also suggest he regularly visited a local shooting range to keep his skills sharp and made several trips to the barracks, picking just the right hiding spot from which he could launch an ambush and make his escape.

Lt. Col. George Bivens vowed Monday that police will arrest the “coward” who “did it from a place of hiding and ran.”

“I want you to know that troopers are working around the clock to bring you to justice,” Bivens said. “The act that you committed may have been meant as an act of intimidation. It has not intimidated us. The Pennsylvania State Police is committed to bringing you to justice. We will find you and we will seek justice when we do.”

Police received hundreds of tips as a nonprofit group increased its reward offer to $75,000 for information leading to the gunman’s capture, and a number of the tips provided “credible information” about the ambush, Bivens said. Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers has asked anyone with information to call them or submit tips online.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were helping with the investigation. Authorities pored over old cases investigated by the two troopers — and by others in the barracks and elsewhere — in hopes of turning up a suspect.

Kelly said in a statement earlier Tuesday that parts of Route 402 were blocked in some areas overnight to allow a search of the area without endangering the safety of motorists. He didn’t say what investigators were looking for, but said the road was reopened and no one was in custody.

As the manhunt continued, Dickson’s family prepared for his funeral, to be held Thursday at a Roman Catholic cathedral in Scranton. Dickson, a Marine Corps veteran who joined the state police in 2007 and had worked as a patrol unit supervisor in the Blooming Grove barracks since June, is survived by his wife of 10 years and two young sons.

The injured lawman, Trooper Alex Douglass, a nine-year veteran, was conscious and talking for the first time since he underwent surgery. Investigators planned to interview him.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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