The Associated Press
FREDONIA, N.Y.- The first day of school for kids in rural western New York meant recess in the classroom, no outdoor sports practice and armed state troopers continuing to search vehicles at nearly two dozen checkpoints. The normal rhythms of life in Chautauqua County have been radically jolted as hundreds of police scour the woods for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, the escaped convict suspected of killing one trooper and wounding two others during five months on the run.
Phillips broke out of the Erie County jail in April. Since then, the 6-foot-tall, 240-pound Phillips has left a trail of burglaries and car thefts across central and western New York and neighboring Pennsylvania. He is suspected of stealing 41 weapons from a local gun shop in late August. Police suspect he ambushed two specially trained troopers on Thursday as they staked out a house. Joseph Longobardo died Sunday, his funeral is Monday; Donald Baker remains in serious condition. After state police said hunters have hampered the search, there is fear among locals that the deer season could be cancelled.
State police revealed Tuesday that they have arrested a Pennsylvania man last Wednesday and charged him with helping Phillips avoid capture. Police said they recovered 33 guns from a Ludlow, Pennsylvania house, guns that were believed to have been stolen by Phillips from a Chautauqua County gun shop.
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Donations are also being accepted on behalf of the troopers. Checks can be made out to: The New York State Trooper Foundation 3 Airport Blvd. Latham, NY 12110 People should designate in the memo section on their check which fund they would like their donation to be used for. The Memorial fund for Longobardo benefits his wife and young son, the fund in Baker's name will be put toward the State Police Mobile Response Team, which both men were part of.