MURPHY, N.C. -- A longtime fugitive charged in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing and in attacks at an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub was arrested early Saturday in the mountains of North Carolina, the Justice Department said.
The FBI confirmed Eric Rudolph's identity through a fingerprint match, authorities said.
"Eric Robert Rudolph, the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's most wanted list, has been captured and will face American justice,'' Attorney General John Ashcroft said Saturday. "This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent.''
Rudolph was captured after sheriff's deputies in western North Carolina spotted a man digging in a trash bin in the small town of Murphy at about 4:30 a.m., Special Agent John Iannarelli in Washington said. He said the man appeared to be homeless. When the deputies approached him, they recognized him as Rudolph.
The 1996 bombing at the crowded Olympic park during the summer Olympics in Atlanta followed closely on the heels of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and stunned the world.
The bomb was left hidden in a knapsack in the crowded Centennial Olympic Park on July 27, 1996. When it exploded, it killed one woman and injured 111 other people.
Two years later, Rudolph was charged with that attack and in three others -- at a gay nightclub in Atlanta and at an office building north of Atlanta in 1997, and at an abortion clinic in Birmingham in 1998. One police officer was killed.
In all, the bombings killed two people and wounded more than 100 people, according to the FBI.
Rudolph had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list and had eluded a massive manhunt for five years, much of it in the western North Carolina mountains near where he was arrested. The FBI had offered a $1 million reward for his capture.
The 36-year-old Army veteran and experienced outdoorsman hadn't been seen since July 1998 after he took supplies from a health store owner in North Carolina.
Authorities believed he had fled into the mountains, and as more time passed with no reported sightings of him, some believed he must be dead.