Trooper Landon Weaver was killed around 6:30 p.m. Friday while responding to a domestic violence call on Bakers Hollow Road in Juniata Township, about 85 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Police released a photo of the suspected shooter, Jason Robison, 32, before he dyed his hair purple. While asking the public to keep a lookout for Robison, they warn against approaching him, saying he may still be armed.
The Centre Daily Times reported that Robison had a lengthy criminal record: a dozen arrests with charges ranging from simple assault to arson.
Weaver is the 97th member of the Pennsylvania State Police killed in the line of duty. He had been a Pennsylvania state trooper for a year and was assigned to a unit based out of nearby Huntingdon. In a statement, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said Weaver “will always be remembered for his bravery, his sacrifice, and his willingness to serve.”
The nation has seen an uptick in lawmen killed this year, amid worries that anti-police sentiment is leading to increased attacks on officers. By Dec. 29, 135 officers had been killed in the line of the duty, a 10 percent jump from the year before, according to The Washington Post’s Mark Berman and Kevin Uhrmacher. Of those slain officers, 64 were shot, a 56 percent increase pushed up by a surge in ambush attacks.
Weaver’s death happened two years after the ambush of two other Pennsylvania State Police troopers, which left one injured and the other dead.
Cpl. Bryon Dickson was shot and killed by Eric Frein, a self-styled survivalist who eluded police in the woods of rural Pennsylvania for nearly two months, the FBI told The Washington Post. Trooper Alex Douglass was injured when he came to Dickson’s aid.
Frein melted into the dense woods of the Pocono Mountains and eluded a dragnet of 1,000 officers for 48 days.