$50K reward offered for tips on Pennsylvania trooper's slaying
BLOOMING GROVE — Investigators on Sunday returned to search the woods across from a state police barracks where two troopers were ambushed, one fatally, in a shooting.
Troopers set up a checkpoint near the site where they were stopping motorists to ask if they had seen anything that could help with the case. A nonprofit group offered a $50,000 reward for tips about a deadly assault on Friday at the remote post in northeast Pennsylvania.
Trooper Tom Kelly, a spokesman for state police, said in an emailed update that police are getting a large number of tips, and some are “fantastic.”
He said they are keeping details of the investigation quiet to preserve the integrity of the leads.
Eight investigators walked into the dense forest in Blooming Grove about noon. A day earlier, authorities suggested the suspect had left the area.
The two troopers were ambushed about 10:50 p.m. Friday as one of them was leaving the barracks and the other was arriving. Cpl. Bryon Dickson of Dunmore died, and Trooper Alex Douglass was wounded.
Douglass is conscious and talking for the first time, Kelly said. Investigators hope to soon interview Douglass to get additional information on the shooting.
Dickson, a seven-year veteran, had transferred to the region from the Philadelphia barracks several months ago.
State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said the “cowardly attack” was directed at state police and a “very dangerous, armed criminal” eluded quick capture.
“Our troopers were ... shot without warning and really had no chance to defend themselves,” Noonan told reporters. “It has touched us to the core that such a thing could happen.”
Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers, which posted the reward offer, asked anyone with information to call 800-4PA-TIPS or submit the tip online.
Law enforcement officers from at least three states searched state game lands surrounding the barracks in Pike County and beyond.
“There has been an exhaustive search conducted by hundreds of members of law enforcement,” said Lt. Col. George Bivens. “We have canvassed the wooded areas, neighborhoods.”
Police interviewed a man they called a “person of interest,” but Noonan said authorities are talking to hundreds of people as part of the investigation. He stressed the man is not a suspect.
The slain trooper was married with two young sons. He was described by friends as devoted to work and family.
“They were a committed couple,” Melissa Contorno, a friend of Dickson's wife, told The Times-Tribune. “They were raising a beautiful young family. It's not fair.”