Schools close after Frein sightings
A northeastern Pennsylvania school district closed its schools Tuesday after at least two reported sightings of the suspect in a deadly state police ambush.
Officials in the Pocono Mountain School District announced the decision to cancel classes shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday.
In the latest possible sighting, an officer with Pocono Mountain Regional Police reported seeing a man dressed in green in a wooded area near the Swiftwater Post Office around 2 p.m. Monday, leading to 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 less than a half-mile from a Pocono Mountain School District’s Swiftwater campus, which includes a high school, junior high and elementary school.
The possible sighting came three days after a woman said she saw a rifle-toting man with a mud-covered face near Pocono Mountain East High School.
District officials had said Monday night that schools would be open Tuesday, with students remaining indoors and athletic practices moved off site. It wasn’t immediately clear what changed their minds, 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, and since taken down, said Robison spoke to 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.”
Kelly said Tuesday that classes were canceled “as a result of the police activity in the area of the school.”
Frein, 31, is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks on Sept. 12, killing a trooper and seriously wounding another.
Authorities had been searching for him in the woods around his parents’ home in Canadensis but shifted their primary search area 5 or 6 miles to the southwest after Friday night’s sighting.
The school district had opened with heightened security Monday, stationing additional police officers at the Swiftwater campus. As police ramped up their search efforts nearby in response to Monday’s possible sighting, district officials moved outdoor after-school athletic practices to another campus.
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