It only took one extremely brave New York State Trooper to take down fugitive David Sweat. The Canadian border was never so close, yet so far away as local Sgt. Jay Cook shot him twice in the torso, ending a three-week saga in rural Northern New York.
The story came to an end one quiet, rainy afternoon in an Amish dairy farmer’s field in the small town of Constable, home to 1,500. David Sweat was jogging along a road known locally as Coveytown Road when he caught the officer’s eye.
Cook, his parents told the Press-Republican, has been patrolling these roads for years. Such familiarity tends to make the out of place a bit more obvious. And the 21-year veteran of the state police — based out of the same town descended upon by national media, federal agencies, and law enforcement from all over the state — knew that this person didn’t belong.
After all, jogging along a narrow road in the middle of the day amid rainstorm is a bit unusual.
“Hey, come over here,” Cook reportedly said to the man Sunday afternoon, NBC News reported.
The man ignored him. The cop called out again. This time he turned around, and he saw a face that is burned into the memory of every resident of the North Country: the surviving Clinton County Correctional Facility escapee David Sweat.
“He was a rover today, and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. He’s very sharp,” his parents said. “He’s been patrolling the area for years. He saw a guy, and when he got a better look, he knew who it was.”
And now, David Sweat stood before him. But not for long.
David took off and ran into the rain-soaked field. The sergeant gave chase for a while, but he stayed just out of his reach and was heading to the tree line.
So the trooper ended a hunt that had sent over a thousand officials scouring thickly forested and buggy terrain on a calculated and desperate search for Sweat and Matt: He shot him twice in the torso before he could disappear into woods again.
And slip across the border into Canada.
Sweat, 35, survived and his condition upgraded at Albany Medical Center by Monday, where he was transported following a brief stay at a local hospital. In addition to being shot, photos snapped of his capture revealed a pale, filthy man, only vaguely resembling his mug shot.
Now, the inmate is singing like a songbird, revealing some interesting details about his and his accomplice’s flight. For one, the pair had intended to journey to Mexico, if only their intended getaway driver, prison employee Joyce Mitchell, had shown up. She’s in jail facing her own charges.
David Sweat’s partner, Richard Matt, had been shot in the head three times two days before. From his hospital bed, David also said he’d dropped him five days ago for being too slow. According to CNN, the inmate had gotten sick at some point during their flight across the Adirondacks.
Back in the North Country, a usually quiet place desperate to return to business as usual, Cook is being lauded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his neighbors, and colleagues. Legal experts have backed up the trooper’s actions — his snap decision that only a shot would keep the fugitive from disappearing into the woods.
State and federal law allows deadly force if the officer believes the suspect is a threat; Sweat murdered a cop, and was serving a life sentence for the crime. And he left Northern New York in a state of constant anxiety for almost a month. Experts say he was plenty justified, FoxNews added.
Meanwhile, his very proud parents, Judy and Arlend, said their son isn’t used to the spotlight.
“It’s been a very emotional day for our family. I still can’t believe it’s over and nobody got hurt. We’re very proud of our son, and we’re very happy.”
[Photo Courtesy Twitter]