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Troopers Fire Shots at Man Believed to be Fugitive Ralph Phillips

By Associated Press

Buffalo, NY – Police fired at a man believed to be fugitive Ralph Phillips early Friday after the fleeing suspect aimed a handgun at an officer, sparking a massive search near the Pennsylvania state line, authorities said.

New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said Phillips was not in custody Friday afternoon. It could not be determined if Phillips was hit by the gunfire; Bennett said there was no sign of blood at the scene.

Phillips, a career criminal who broke out of the Erie County Correctional Facility in April, is suspected of killing a state trooper and wounding two others.

"We believe we have him contained," Bennett said, but added, "I won't say that I'm completely convinced that this is going to come to the conclusion we want."

Bennett said a police dog caught the trail of an individual in the woods about 9 a.m. When the officer came up behind the man, he turned and pointed a pistol at the officer. The officer fired several rounds and the individual fled into another wooded area.

"We have every reason to believe it's Ralph Bucky Phillips," Bennett said.

Bennett said police believe they have Phillips contained in an area straddling the state line near Carroll, N.Y., about 65 miles south of Buffalo.

"There wasn't really any time to put a plan into effect," Bennett said when asked if police thought Phillips managed to escape. "He hasn't had any time to make any contact with a safe house."

"Obviously we have a very dangerous and desperate individual on the loose here," he said.