Yesterday, after three weeks on the run, one of the two convicted murderers who broke out of Clinton Correctional Facility at the start of the month was shot and killed by police. While Richard Matt, who turned 49 on Thursday, was killed near Titus Lake, about 30 miles from the prison in Dannemora, David Sweat, 35, remains on the run. Thousands of law-enforcement agents have converged on the area trying to track him down, setting up giant flood lights and road blocks, and stopping cars along Route 41.
"Now it’s a one-man show and it makes it more difficult for him,” Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said of Sweat, who was serving a life sentence for murdering a sheriff's deputy. "And I’m sure fatigue is setting in for him as well, knowing the guy he was with has already been shot." Authorities are worried he could slip away when some bad weather hits the area this weekend: "There’s torrential rain coming in, and that’s been something we have been battling on and off for a few weeks now," Favro added to the Press-Republican.
Matt, the charming and "well-endowed" killer who allegedly seduced a prison worker and traded his paintings for tools used in escape, was fatally shot near a cabin in Owl's Head where DNA tests had confirmed he and Sweat had been hiding out last week. That cabin, where the pair had left behind "a pair of grungy, prison-issued white boxer shorts," is owned or leased by a group of correction officers who called the spot, "The Twisted Horn."
On Wednesday, a burglary was reported at another nearby cabin, where a screen had been cut and a window was broken. Then on Friday morning, a camp site was found near Malone when police believe the men had been staying as well. Then just before 2 p.m. Friday, the big break came when they tried to carjack a camper vehicle. Buffalo News reports:
A man who had been driving a camper reported it had been shot at. He had been driving in the search zone in Malone when he had heard a sound.
He initially thought it was a flat tire. He got out of his vehicle and saw nothing wrong with his tires. But later, when he checked the camper that he had been hauling in a trailer, he saw a bullet hole - and he called the police.
Then, searchers found a cabin that had been broken into and went inside.
They smelled gunpowder. They went outside and saw movement and heard the sound of coughing, D’Amico said.
— Justin Matthew (@justin72781) June 26, 2015
Tim LaRocque, the caretaker of the cabin, told The Daily Beast he was napping when his wife came in and they heard a shot. "I’m in my bedroom about a quarter to three,” he said. “I got up when I heard a shot...She came to wake me up and yelled, ‘They’ve been shooting out there.'" Cops chased Matt, who was armed with a shotgun, through the woods.
"They challenged him,” State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said of the showdown at a press conference. He added that Matt didn't fire his gun, but he "didn't surrender either," and he was shot by an agent. Those officers say they saw a second figure fleeing after Matt was shot, but couldn't confirm it was Sweat.
"You never want to see anyone lose their life," Gov. Cuomo said at the press conference, which you can see in the video above. "But I would remind people that Mr. Matt was an escaped murderer from a state prison. Mr. Matt killed two people that we know about. Mr. Matt killed his boss in a dispute and dismembered him. He fled to Mexico and killed another person in Mexico."