And, for the first time in more than three weeks, upstate New York residents awoke to a day that wouldn’t involve navigating police roadblocks or the fear of encountering a desperate and dangerous escapee with little to lose.
“It’s just been really hard on everybody,” said Steve Lashway, who owns a meat market near Clinton Correctional Facility, the prison from which Sweat and fellow inmate Richard Matt escaped. “It lasted 23 days, but I think it probably felt like 23 weeks to most people.”
On Twitter, area resident Kate Messner echoed the sentiment.
“It’s been a long 23 days, but this morning, the woods just feel like woods again,” she said.
The 22-day manhunt for Sweat ended Sunday when the fugitive was spotted just 2 miles from the Canadian border. He made it closer to Canada than his fellow escapee. Matt was found and killed Friday near Malone, New York.
New York State Police Sgt. Jay Cook spotted Sweat near a barn in the sleepy New York town of Constable. Sweat bolted, and the officer gave chase.
“At some point, running across a field, he realized that Sweat was going to make it to a tree line, and possibly could have disappeared, and he fired two shots,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico told reporters.
Sweat, who was unarmed, was struck twice in the torso. No one else was hurt.
He is being treated in a secure area at Albany Medical Center, according to the hospital official, who declined to be identified. “Multiple people” from law enforcement and hospital security are guarding him, the official said. The hospital has a security team that is trained to react to trauma situations to ensure the safety of both patients and staff, the official said.