Escapee David Sweat Shot, in Custody
MALONE, New York (CNN) —
Escaped murderer David Sweat, who led law enforcement on a more-than-three-week chase, has been shot and is in custody.
A New York State Police sergeant on roving patrol saw Sweat on Sunday, and after Sweat ran, the sergeant shot him, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. It did not appear Sweat was armed, the official said.
He was taken into custody in the town of Constable, in upstate New York, close to the Canadian border.
Sweat was transported to the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, an officer at the hospital told CNN. His condition was not immediately clear. A law enforcement source said Sweat was shot twice.
No law enforcement officers were injured during his apprehension.
The arrest wraps up the massive hunt for Sweat and his prison-break partner, Richard Matt. Matt was shot dead Friday.
Sweat was imprisoned at the Clinton Correctional Facility for shooting dead an officer who pursued him after a robbery he committed.
Behind bars, Sweat and Matt cozied up to a prison tailor and a guard who allegedly brought them tools, which they used to cut their way through a labyrinth of multiple barriers and underground passageways. They emerged to freedom through a manhole in the middle of a street.
Guards discovered them missing on June 6, during a routine bed check.
Law enforcement experts stressed Sunday that it’s crucial Sweat survive so that officials can learn exactly how he and Matt escaped, and who helped them.
Search teams like the ones looking for Sweat routinely include highly trained medics who could immediately begin to treat a gunshot wound, former Navy SEAL Jonathan Gilliam told CNN as the news of Sweat’s shooting broke.
“I’m sure he’s getting critical care very rapidly,” he said.
Earlier Sunday, about 1,300 federal, state and local law enforcement officers were searching vehicles at roadblocks and scouring dense woods in upstate New York for Sweat.
Since he and Matt broke out of the maximum security prison in Dannemora together — and appeared to stick together on their flight from the law — authorities were hopeful they could be right on Sweat’s heels after encountering Matt.
Searchers had at times followed two sets of footprints, but when they gunned Matt down one day after his 49th birthday, there was no sign of Sweat nearby.
So, on all-terrain vehicles and in helicopters, they continued looking for the man who eluded them for three weeks, using infrared vision devices to peer through the night.
That search was focused on an area along New York’s State Route 30 between County Route 41 in the town of Malone and County Route 26 in the town of Duane, state police said.
Audra Buchanan of Constable, New York, said she was stunned to hear recently that Sweat could be near her home.
“We were so nervous,” she said. “We’ve had our housed locked down.”
When she saw on CNN that Sweat had been shot and was in custody, she said she felt “an incredible sigh of relief.”
When she heard sirens and saw ambulances fly by her home, she thought, “Oh my God, thank God!” she told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux.
Her 9-year-old daughter has been begging to go outside and play for weeks, and Buchanan said she’s glad she can now let her.