'The nightmare is over': Escaped Pennsylvania killer caught

Video of the aftermath of Danelo Cavalcante's capture shows the killer in handcuffs.

Footage shows police officers taking a picture with Danelo Cavalcante after arresting him, before escorting him into a police van and cutting off his clothing

A convicted murderer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison by “crab walking” up a wall, has been captured after nearly two weeks on the run.

The dramatic capture of Danelo Cavalcante at around 8am (local time) on Wednesday in Chester County, involved a helicopter, a lightning storm, a police dog and more than 20 tactical officers, officials said.

“Our nightmare is finally over,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan told reporters, after the killer was taken into custody.

At around 1am on Wednesday, a helicopter flying above the search area picked up on a heat signal on the ground, police said in a news conference following the capture.

However, after a lightning storm forced the helicopter out, a tactical team of 20 to 25 officers secured the area and lay in wait until the morning.

Cavalcante was sleeping when police found him, lying on top of a rifle he had stolen from a nearby resident late on Monday night.

Danelo Cavalcante caught on camera in northern Chester County. / Credit: AP

Officers took the convicted killer by surprise and he tried to flee by crawling through thick underbrush with the rifle in hand, said Pennsylvania State Police Lt Colonel George Bivens.

A police dog bit the 34-year-old fugitive on the head and another dog latched onto his thigh, Deputy US Marshal Robert Clark said.

“He was probably in excruciating pain,” he added.

Aerial news footage showed an officer wiping Cavalcante’s bloody head and face with a towel.

Around two dozen officers in tactical gear posed for a group photo with the fugitive before he was taken into custody.

Philadelphia, law enforcement officers pose for a group photo with Danelo Cavalcante after his capture. / Credit: CBS NEWS Philadelphia KYW-TV via AP

The move has prompted criticism from policing reform advocates and members of the public who called it inappropriate.

Video of the aftermath of Cavalcante’s capture shows him in handcuffs being escorted by more than a dozen heavily armed officers into the back of an armored Special Response Team vehicle.

Cavalcante had blood on his face and was wearing dark trousers and a hoodie, which had been cut off his body before he was placed into the vehicle.

Cavalcante escaped Chester County Prison by ‘crab walking’ up the walls

The killer broke out of Chester County Prison on August 31 while he was awaiting transfer to a different facility.

He escaped by crab-walking up walls in the recreation yard, pushing through layers of barbed wire, running across a roof and, eventually, jumping onto the ground outside the prison.

His escape went undetected for more than an hour until guards carried out a headcount of inmates.

Officials said the on-duty tower guard at the time of his escape has since been fired.

Cavalcante appeared in court at the Avondale barracks on an escape charge. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for September, 27.

Danelo Cavalcante is escorted from a Pennsylvania State Police barracks. / Credit: AP

He was surrounded by officers as he left court, with his hands and bare feet shackled, wearing what appeared to be a hospital gown.

Cavalcante was driven to a state prison outside Philadelphia to continue serving the life sentence he received last month for killing his ex-girlfriend.

He was captured in a grey Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt that he either found or stole. The governor of Pennsylvania promised the owner a new one.

“Whoever had their Eagles hoodie stolen, if you could let us know,” Josh Shapiro said, “I’ll do my best to get you one of those new kelly green ones.”

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