Police seek man who shot troopers
One shot pierced one trooper's bullet-resistant vest.
FREDONIA, N.Y. (AP) -- Pennsylvania residents are being asked to be on the lookout and take precautions against a man who ambushed two state troopers staking out the home of an escaped convict's ex-girlfriend.
Authorities said Friday they were searching the surrounding area for the fugitive.
Neither trooper saw the suspect, and neither returned fire, but one was able to radio for help, State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said. Both officers are hospitalized in critical condition.
"It's clear to me the troopers were ambushed," Bennett said.
Police believe the gunman was Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, who escaped from jail in April and may be traveling between Pennsylvania and western New York, Bennett said. Since his escape, he has been suspected in the wounding of another state trooper, numerous burglaries and the theft of firearms from a gun shop.
On Friday morning, police checked vehicles on roads approaching the New York state Thruway. Bennett ordered 75 additional troopers to help with the manhunt.
"It's time for Bucky Phillips to go back to jail. Enough is enough," Bennett said.
"He has made threats against police officers via other individuals who either we or the Pennsylvania State Police have spoken to, so it is my opinion that he clearly would be the No. 1 suspect in the shootings," Bennett said.
The two wounded officers were doing surveillance Thursday evening in the rural western New York town of Pomfret, home of Phillips' ex-girlfriend, Kasey Crowe. She was charged last week with hindering prosecution for allegedly helping Phillips. Despite a $50,000 reward, friends and family members have not turned Phillips in, police said.
One trooper was hit in the back with a bullet that penetrated his bullet-resistant vest, Bennett said. The other was shot in the thigh and suffered massive blood loss from a severed artery.
Bennett identified the officers as Joseph Longobardo, 32, and Donald Baker Jr., 38.
Phillips, 44, escaped April 2 from the Erie County jail, where he was sent for violating parole on a burglary conviction, police said. He also is wanted in the June 10 shooting of a state trooper near Elmira, N.Y. Trooper Sean Brown survived after being shot in the abdomen as he approached a stolen car.
Since his escape, Phillips has evaded police, helped himself to food, clothes and guns from unattended homes and hunting cabins in western New York, and is believed to have stolen about 15 cars, police said.
Last weekend, Phillips was suspected of stealing several weapons from a gun shop and a car, state police said.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.