ROSLYN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island woman got a close call at a remote home near the Canadian border, when she received a knock on her door at 2 a.m. when two prison escapees were still on the run.
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, such a knock was the last thing in the world that a woman alone in the area would have wanted to hear late last week, as the manhunt for Clinton Correctional Facility escapees David Sweat and Richard Matt intensified.
The woman, Carla Gerber, said she received the knock as the fugitives made their desperate final getaway.
“I heard, like, three knocks on the front door,” she said.
Gerber was alone Thursday night in her country home near upstate Malone, just hours before escaped killer Matt was finally tracked down and shot dead by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The site where Matt was shot was only a couple of miles from Gerber’s residence.
“I was sort of like paralyzed in bed, you know?” Gerber said.
Back home in Roslyn, Long Island, Gerber said the stark fear that kept her still that night may have saved her life, since answering the door could have meant being taken hostage.
“Maybe less than that,” she said. “He probably would have killed me; eliminated me.”
Gerber said the instinct not to move, along with the lights from a passing police car, may have saved her.
“That floodlight was my savior,” she said. “It scared the person away.”
When Gerber reported the terrifying middle-of-the-night knock at her door to law enforcement, she said police swarmed her property – with dogs tracking a scent right to her front door. She said prints were taken and a blood stain was found.
“Oh, I’m sure it was one of them,” she said.
Four days later, Gerber was still shaken by the chilling encounter, but grateful to be back home.
“I’m here in Long Island,” she said. “I’m safe, and I feel the Good Lord looked over me.”
On Sunday, two days after Matt was shot dead, Sweat was shot, wounded and taken into custody near the Canadian border.
CBS2 has reached out to New York State Police for more details on Gerber’s story, but has not heard back.