NEW YORK, NY (NBC) – Convicted murderer and escaped inmate David Sweat was shot near the Canadian border Sunday by a New York state police officer, according to authorities.
Sweat was wounded but is alive and was taken into custody, according to the New York State Police. He was spotted by New York State Police Sgt. Jay Cook at about 3:20 p.m. in the town of Constable, less than six miles from the Canadian border, police said in a statement. Cook then shot and injured Sweat.
New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer told The Associated Press that no officers were hurt during the shooting and capture. He said law enforcement officials told him that Sweat was shot twice in the head and was coughing up blood.
He was transported to the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, New York, law enforcement sources said. His condition is unknown, according to police. The news comes more than three weeks after Sweat broke free from Clinton Correctional Facility, and two days after Richard Matt, 49, the man he escaped with, was killed by law enforcement.
Matt was shot dead in Malone, which is about 40 miles away from the prison and about six miles south from where Sweat was shot. New York state police said Friday that investigators believed the inmates were attempting to cross the Canadian border.
More than 1,300 law enforcement officers were combing Malone and Duane Sunday, increased from the 1,200 who were searching in the same area the day before. Officials had said that there was no evidence to suggest that Sweat was in the area, but nothing indicated otherwise.
The exhaustive search began when Matt and Sweat broke out from the maximum security portion of the Dannemora prison in a sophisticated and brazen plan in which the prisoners cut holes in the backs of their cells with power tools. Two prison workers have been arrested in connection with the escape.
Joyce Mitchell, who worked as an instructor in the prison’s tailor shop, was arrested June 12 and charged with a felony count of promoting prison contrabandand a misdemeanor count of criminal facilitation. She was planning to be a getaway driver for the inmates after the early morning break out, but got cold feet, officials have said.
A prison guard Gene Palmer was later arrested and charged with promoting prison contraband in the first degree, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of official misconduct. Palmer told police that he allowed the prisoners outside of their cells and gave them supplies but never thought they would escape.
Sweat was serving a life sentence for killing Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia on July 4, 2002. Tarsia’s sister-in-law, Lisa Tarsia, posted on Facebook after Sweat’s capture that her brother-in-law “can once again Rest in Peace.”
“Feeling so thankful for all the members of Law Enforcement that have spent the last 3 weeks away from their families to track down these animals,” she wrote.
Matt was serving 25 years to life for brutally killing and dismembering his former boss. Both were added to the U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list during their time on the lam, and $25,000 each was offered as reward money on top the $50,000 offered by New York for information leading to either inmate.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the weeks-long search had been “expensive,” although he couldn’t give a number. Whatever the cost, Cuomo said there was “no doubt, in my opinion, that it’s worth it.”