PLATTSBURGH, New York– Richard Matt, one of two escaped murderers from an upstate New York maximum-security prison, was shot and killed by officers involved in a massive three-week manhunt, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Friday night.
Officers are still pursuing fugitive David Sweat, and believe to be closing in on him near the Canadian border. No police have seen him at this time, but there is a secure perimeter.
Matt apparently shot at a driver in a camper near Malone, New York, a federal law enforcement source said. The driver called 911. When officers arrived, gunfire erupted and Matt was shot dead.
Matt was shot by a border patrol tactical team, a federal law enforcement source said.
At a command center near the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, law enforcement helicopters were taking off to join the search. Passing motorists honked in approval at news of Matt’s death.
The shooting occurred on a day the New York State Police reported that Matt and Sweat might have been headed to Canada.
Investigators were conducting DNA tests on potential new evidence, a source close to the investigation said.
A reported burglary led police to a cabin on Thursday in the town of Malone, State Police spokesman Beau Duffy told CNN. Malone is about 14 miles northwest of Mountain View, where another cabin was burglarized.
Evidence found in the Malone cabin was being tested, Duffy added. At the time, the fugitives had not been seen, but “we’re certain that the evidence is conclusive,” State Police Maj. Charles Guess said Friday at a news conference.
More than 1,100 law enforcement officers have been pursuing new leads with a “high degree of confidence,” Guess said.
Two prison employees have been charged in connection with the men’s elaborate June 6 breakout, and the accusations against them highlight a series of apparent security lapses.
Investigators from the New York State Inspector General’s Office are looking into possible breaches of security protocols that allowed Matt and Sweat to escape, setting police on a vast and costly manhunt for the past three weeks.
Other agencies are conducting investigations at the prison.
Hundreds search dense woods
As the investigations into shortcomings at Clinton continued, hundreds of law enforcement officers had been searching for Sweat and Matt in a densely wooded area roughly 20 miles west of the prison.
Searchers also had been combing the thick vegetation in the area surrounding the Mountain View cabin the escapees were thought to have burglarized.