A woman embraces a Pennsylvania state trooper during the funeral viewing of Eric Frein’s victim, Bryon Dickson. Photograph: Butch Comegys/AP
Pennsylvania’s expansive Pocono mountains are a tourist hotspot in the summer and bring skiers and snowboards in the winter, but year-round the mountain range hosts a community of longtime residents used to travelling down miles of dirt roads and densely wooded areas to travel from their isolated homes to more populated areas for school and work. These winding, wooded roads have become a source of anxiety for some residents of Monroe County, after a local resident killed a police officer, Bryon Dickson, and injured another late last week. The suspect managed to evade the eyes of law enforcement until police discovered an abandoned SUV several days after the shooting, leading police to identify him as Eric Frein on Tuesday. A day later, they described him as an anti-law enforcement survivalist who had talked of mass murder.
Frein grew up in the mountain town of Canadensis, population 2,164, and attended school in the 5,546-person city of Stroudsburg, where some residents from the wooded areas work and study. The revelations about Frein’s views and lifestyle prompted Stroudsburg colleges to take increased security measures, and led to fear among residents.
“The only concern is that he could be right there and we wouldn’t know it,” Salwa Khalifa, a student at East Stroudsburg University (ESU), where Frein studied, told the Guardian. Rumours of sightings have become commonplace at ESU and police swarmed the area on Wednesday after reports of a sighting. They found no sign of him.