A northeastern Pennsylvania school district made the decision to close its schools Tuesday after at least two reported sightings of Eric Frein, a police ambush suspect who opened fire outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks on Sept. 12, killing one trooper and seriously wounded another before fleeing and seemingly living unnoticed.
Officials in the Pocono Mountain School District announced Tuesday their decision to cancel classes shortly after 5 a.m.
— LaurieMasonSchroeder (@LehighCourts) October 21, 2014
In the latest possible sighting of Eric Frein, an officer with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police reported seeing a man cloaked in green in a wooded area near the Swiftwater post office around 2 p.m., prompting an intensive police search but no capture.
“He lost visual contact with the man through the woods. A search of the area was conducted, but no one was located,” Trooper Tom Kelly said Tuesday morning.
The post office is located less than half a mile from Pocono Mountain School District’s Swiftwater campus, which includes a high school, junior high and elementary school.
The second possible sighting comes just three days after a woman said she saw a rifle-toting man with his face covered in mud near Pocono Mountain East High School.
District officials said Monday night that schools would open Tuesday, with students remaining indoors and athletic practice being held off site. It wasn’t immediately clear why their minds changed, but Superintendent Elizabeth Robison has said the district is in close contact with state police.
A statement posted on the district’s website Monday night, but has since been taken down, said Ms. Robison spoke with a state police official who “expressed his commitment to student safety and assured her that he will notify her immediately if he ever has a safety concern for any of our schools or campuses.”
Authorities have been scouring the woods around his parents’ home in Canadensis but shifted their primary search area 5 or 6 miles southwest after Friday’s alleged sighting.
Pennsylvania Schools Closed After 2 Alleged Sightings of Police Ambush Suspect