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Massive hunt for New York prison escapees ends

world Updated: Jun 30, 2015 01:07 IST
Yashwant Raj
David Sweat

Fugitive David Sweat was within two and a half kilometres of the Canadian border. If he could make it, he would be harder to find, though not impossible. He didn’t.

Sweat was shot twice by a police officer near the border on Sunday, bringing to an end his three-week run from a New York prison. He is now in police custody.

Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from New York state’s Clinton correction facility three weeks ago triggering a widely-followed hunt that may some day inspire a book or a movie or both.

“The nightmare is finally over,” New York state governor Andrew M Cuomo said at a news conference Sunday evening. “These were really dangerous men.”

The two — convicted murderers serving life sentences — broke out of the jail on June 6 with the help of two officials, one of whom, a woman, was in a relationship with one or both of them.

She was to wait with a car for them at a manhole outside the jail, their exit point, but she developed cold feet, forcing them escape on foot through a tough terrain.

Over 1,000 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the hunt, as schools were shut down and residents were ordered to sty home, and indoors.

Authorities have not said yet if Sweat and Matt were together most of the time on the run or they separated. Matt was cornered and killed on Friday. He was carrying a shotgun.

The hunt for Sweat continued. A lone police officer on patrol spotted him walking down a road near the border with Canada Sunday evening. When told to stop, he fled.

Though Sweat was not armed, authorities said the officer shot him as he feared losing him in the thick woods if he let him walk away. Sweat was shot twice in the torso.

He is being treated in a hospital, heavily guarded.