A convicted murderer who escaped from a maximum-security New York prison three weeks ago was shot and captured Sunday, bringing an end to an intense manhunt that saw his fellow escapee shot dead.
David Sweat was apprehended just 1.5 miles (three kilometers) south of the Canadian border and later transported to a hospital in the state capital for treatment, where an official said he was in critical condition.
His capture wraps up a multimillion-dollar manhunt that saw up to 1,300 law enforcement officers at a time scouring the rugged, remote area around the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York after Sweat and Richard Matt busted out on June 6.
Matt was shot dead by a federal agent on Friday. An autopsy showed he was shot three times in the head.
“The nightmare is finally over,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
Cuomo said Sweat was apparently unarmed and wearing camouflage when he was confronted by a lone officer who shot him twice in the torso as he ran away in an open field.
A photograph circulated in US media showed a bloodied Sweat in police custody.
He was later transported to a secure unit inside the Albany Medical Center in the state capital, according to a hospital official.
“What I can tell you is that his condition is critical, and based on the preliminary evaluation of the patient, it`s obvious that he would need to be here for a series of days for sure,” the center`s medical director Dennis McKenna told reporters.
He said doctors were unsure whether Sweat would need surgery, but that he was being treated by a range of specialists.
Authorities had worried the escaped convicts might cross into Canada.
“He was that close, and we couldn`t be happier we were able to apprehend him and not lose him,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph d`Amico.
“It`s been a long three weeks.”
D`Amico said the two men, who were possibly using pepper to throw sniffer dogs off their trail, had parted ways at some unknown time.Sweat, 35, and Matt, 49, had escaped in audacious fashion — they used power tools to cut through cell walls, then crawled through pipes to emerge from a manhole in the village of Dannemora, home to the sprawling prison,” Cuomo said.