“The nightmare is finally over,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared at a news conference.
A state police sergeant shot David Sweat in the town of Constable, about 1½ miles south of the Canadian border and 30 miles northwest of the prison, after spotting him walking along a road and recognizing him, Cuomo said.
Sgt. Jay Cook was alone and on routine patrol when he stumbled upon Sweat. He gave chase when Sweat fled and decided to fire as the fugitive approached a tree line where Cook feared he would lose him, state police said.
“I can only assume he was going for the border,” Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said.
Sweat, who was unarmed, was struck twice in the torso and was taken to a hospital in stable condition, authorities said. He had not been formally interviewed by investigators as of late Sunday, but any information he provides could be critical to the investigation, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said.
Sweat will be charged with escape, burglary and other charges, Wylie said. The inmates are suspected of breaking into some of the region’s many cabins during their time on the lam. Wylie said prosecutors would wait for Sweat to recover before charging him.
His capture came two days after his escape partner, Richard Matt, was shot and killed by authorities. The men had been on the loose since June 6, when they cut their way out of a maximum-security prison about 30 miles away using power tools.
D’Amico said the men may have used black pepper to mask their trail; he said Sweat’s DNA was recovered from pepper shakers found at one camp where the fugitives may have spent time.
“We did have difficulty tracking so, you know, it was fairly effective in that respect,” D’Amico said.
Cuomo said many questions remained unanswered.
“We have already started a full investigation,” he said. “But today ends with good news. These were dangerous, dangerous men.”
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.
Sweat was serving a sentence of life without parole in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Broome County 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.
“It’s a little unnerving, him being so close,” Constable resident Trevor Buchanan said Sunday. “I’m just glad it’s over.”
In nearby Malone, Cathy Leffler cheered outside Alice Hyde Medical Center, where Sweat was taken by ambulance. Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for Albany Medical Center, said Sweat was being transferred there for further treatment.
Not bad by the officer but he needs more range time……. This shithead should be dead.