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Latest Developments in Search for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips

By Howard Riedel and Associated Press

Fredonia, NY – The massive manhunt continues for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, who's wanted in the shooting death of one state trooper and the wounding of two others.

State Police have been focusing their efforts in rural Chautauqua County, where Phillips is from. Troopers Joseph Longobardo and Donald Baker, SWAT team members from the Albany area, were shot last Thursday as they helped in the search for Phillips in Chautauqua County.

Longobardo, of Ballston Spa, died at a Buffalo hospital on Sunday. Baker, of Clifton Park, remains in serious condition at a Pennsylvania hospital. Phillips is also wanted in the wounding of a trooper in Chemung County in June.

Longobardo's body was taken home to Saratoga County Monday. A procession of troopers escorted the hearse from ECMC to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.

At 6-feet tall and 240 pounds, the 44-year-old Phillips is an experienced woodsman who has spent most of his adult life in prison for a variety of burglaries and thefts.

Police said Phillips had help from a network of sympathetic friends and relatives and six people were arrested for helping him evade custody.

A tip given to police that a suspicious person was seen hopping off a freight train led state police and the Erie County SWAT team to the Town of Hamburg last night in their search for Phillips. The train was traveling on CSX tracks that, farther south, pass within five miles of the home of Phillips's ex-girlfriend. Police stopped the train at the Big Tree and Bay View Road crossing and searched it and the surrounding neighborhood last night for four hours, but did not find Phillips.

Some special transportation arrangements are being worked out in the Cassadaga school district because of the ongoing manhunt for Phillips. School buses may still be subject to searches at roadblocks, and the bus schedules will be adjusted. The district says they've set up "safe spots" where students will be transported in the event of a police incident that blocks off a bus route.

Police in Chautauqua County are asking hunters to stay out of the woods until Phillips is captured, for their own safety and so they do not interfere with the search.