What triggered the seemingly inexplicable rampage wherein state troopers were ambushed, a good man died, and another seriously wounded? What else besides murder was this meant to accomplish? And, most pressing: is anyone else involved, and what happens next?
Over the years, I've reported on a large number of major crimes (and, in my cub reporter days, on basic police stories). I've decoded evidence, seen patterns, and explored the insides of killers' psyches. This experience gives me no answers on the Pennsylvania ambush nor on Frein. But it leads me to sense that this incident is not as straightforward as it might appear.
I believe that Eric Frein is connected to the shootings, and that he knows - or knew - most if not all of the story. Beyond that, though, I am more focused on the red flags than on the yellow police tape. Here's what I've noticed.
No one has come forward claiming to have seen Frein pull the trigger. Circumstantial evidence is strong that Frein is in fact the perp. But the evidence is circumstantial; and, again: no one saw him pull the trigger.
Frein left no manifesto. In "big message" crimes such as this appears to be, the perp often leaves a manifesto explaining how the killer justifies the crime. So far, no one claims to have received an explanatory message from Frein. Is the manifesto still in transit, or perhaps languishing in a neglected mail room? Is it on his person? His computer? Or never composed? If not, how did he plan to explain himself to the world, now that he has our attention?
Something went wrong with the plan. Frein could have remained a mystery killer, sparking fear and havoc beyond the confines of where the attack occurred, and leaving him free to kill more people. But Frein quickly lost both his wheels and the cover of anonymity.
More thoughts, and a recommendation, after the jump...