Massive Manhunt Ends: Trove of Officers Capture Fugitive Cavalcante in Dramatic Scene


In the moments following the capture of Pennsylvania prison escapee Danilo Cavalcante, who had been on the run for nearly two weeks, a rather unusual occurrence took place. Handcuffed and flanked by officers, Cavalcante became the focal point of a group photo as dozens of heavily armed enforcers gathered in a semi-circle around him.

Seemingly orchestrated, an officer secured Cavalcante’s arms while another brandishing a 22-caliber rifle stooped to one knee and leveled his firearm. K-9 units maneuvered into a forward position while those in the rear adopted a spread formation for a clear line of sight. The collective gaze of the assemblage, however, was directed towards another officer who held aloft a phone to capture the striking tableau.

This remarkable image, recorded by overhead video from CNN affiliate KYW, punctuated a high-stakes manhunt for Cavalcante, whose escape from a Chester County prison set in motion a relentless pursuit by numerous law enforcement agencies.

Briefing media just an hour after Cavalcante’s apprehension, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens expressed his approval of the unique photo op. He praised the efforts of all personnel involved, underlining their dedication and resilience amidst a challenging and potentially dangerous situation. Bivens said, their pride in the work well done was understandable.

To capture Cavalcante, an extensive force of approximately 500 law enforcement officers, comprising personnel from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, and US Marshals, participated in the manhunt across challenging rural terrain some 30 miles from Philadelphia.

Cavalcante’s eventual capture was effected by a tactical team from the State Police and the US Border Patrol, with a police dog playing a crucial role in subduing the fugitive. His stolen .22-caliber rifle was also taken into custody, Bivens added.

Not everyone supported the taking of the group photograph, however. Charles Ramsey, the former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, voiced disapproval, describing it as a “trophy photo” and called for a more professional approach once an arrest is made.

Further criticisms were raised by CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who warned against actions which might be perceived by the public as gratuitous or self-congratulatory. Despite this, McCabe did acknowledge the impressive achievement of the law enforcement officers involved.

Before being transported in an armored van, Cavalcante underwent the standard procedure of having his clothing removed for a thorough search and to document any injuries. With Cavalcante stripped down to his underwear, officers photographed any distinctive markings or tattoos on his body to ensure they had apprehended the correct individual.

McCabe affirmed such protocol was in place to ensure the detainee wasn’t concealing dangerous items and to document any injuries, particularly important for law enforcement given the degree of liability they hold for their charges while in custody.


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