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Archive for Sunday, September 3, 2006

Manhunt widens suspect in trooper shootings

September 3, 2006

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— State police warned Saturday that a fugitive suspected of shooting three state troopers, two of them in an ambush, is a threat not just to law enforcement but to anyone who might get in his way.

"He's a desperate man, he knows he's wanted and his choices are running out," Trooper Rebecca Gibbons said.

For months, authorities in western New York have scoured hunting camps, stopped traffic and questioned acquaintances in the search for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, an escaped inmate with the skills of a seasoned outdoorsman.

The manhunt intensified Thursday after two troopers were ambushed by a sniper hiding in the woods outside the home of Phillips' former girlfriend. The two officers were in critical condition as 75 more troopers were called up to reinforce the search.

Phillips, who escaped from jail in April, may be traveling in western Pennsylvania and western New York, said State Police Supt. Wayne Bennett. Since his escape, Phillips has been suspected in the shooting of another state trooper in June, numerous burglaries and theft from a gun shop.

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