The second of two convicted murderers who staged a brazen escape three weeks ago from a maximum-security prison in northern New York was shot and captured near the Canadian border on Sunday, two days after his fellow inmate was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers.
Ending an intense manhunt which had more than 1,000 law enforcement agents searching through woods, barns and hunting grounds, David Sweat was shot twice Sunday afternoon in the town of Constable, about two miles south of the Canadian border. He was discovered when a person spotted a suspicious person walking down a road Sunday afternoon.
Sweat was coughing up blood as he was taken to a hospital, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Fellow inmate Richard Matt — who once vowed never to be taken alive — was killed in a confrontation with law enforcement officers Friday afternoon. No officers were injured.
Matt and Sweat used power tools to saw through a steel cell wall and several steel steam pipes, bashed a hole through a 2-foot-thick brick wall, squirmed through pipes and emerged from a manhole outside the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on June 6.
Sweat was serving a sentence of life without parole in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in 2002. Matt was serving 25 years to life for the killing and dismembering of his former boss. They were added to the U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 Most Wanted fugitives list two weeks after getting away.
The search for the escaped killers was initially concentrated around the prison and a rural community where search dogs had caught the scent of both men. The search had since been expanded to neighboring counties, and, while authorities said there was no evidence the men had gotten out of the general area, they conceded they could have been almost anywhere.
The manhunt broke open Friday afternoon when a person towing a camper heard a loud noise and thought a tire had blown. Finding there was no flat, the driver drove eight miles before looking again and finding a bullet hole in the trailer. A tactical team smelled gunpowder inside a cabin and saw evidence that someone had fled out the back door.
Mitch Johnson said one of his best friends checked on his hunting cabin in Malone on Friday afternoon and noticed a liquor bottle that hadn’t been there the day before. The friend immediately alerted police and Matt was shot about an hour later.
Authorities sent a team to the camp area, and Willett and police later heard a gunshot in the woods, Johnson said.
Officers then flooded the woods, and a noise — perhaps a cough — ultimately did Matt in.
“He heard: ‘Pop pop pop pop pop pop pop,’” Johnson said.
A border patrol team discovered the body of Matt, who had been shot in the head after failing to heed a command to raise his hands. A coroner who attended the autopsy said Matt was clean, well-fed and dressed for the elements at the time he was killed.
“It’s a little unnerving, him being so close,” said Constable resident Trevor Buchanan. “I’m just glad it’s over.”
Dannemora, built in 1845, occupies just over one square mile within the northern reaches of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and is surrounded by forest and farmland. The stark white perimeter wall of the prison, topped by guard towers, borders a main street in the village’s business district.
The escape was the first in history from Clinton Correctional’s maximum-security portion.