A sheriff’s deputy in Maine was shot and killed early this morning in the town of Norridgwock. The suspect in this crime allegedly shot Somerset County Corporal Eugene Cole at about 1:45 a.m., drove off in his police cruiser, and then robbed a Cumberland Farms convenience store.
A national manhunt is now underway for the suspect, with the combined assets of Somerset County Sheriff’s Office along with the Maine state police, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service, in addition to various local police departments.
Authorities have identified the suspect, according to NBC affiliate NewsCenterMaine as well as multiple media outlets.
“Police are searching for 29-year-old John Williams of Madison. Police say Williams is armed and very dangerous. Williams is described as 5’6″ and 120 Ibs, blue eyes, brown hair and is wearing a ponytail on the top of his head with the sides shaved. If anyone sees Williams they are told not to approach him but call 911.”
Cops say they found the police car at about 5 a.m. in Norridgewock, which is located in central Maine, and that the suspect fled the area on foot. Cole, a 13-year veteran on the force, reportedly has a son who also serves as a sheriff’s deputy.
Several schools in the area are on lockdown while the search is underway, and Route 2 is in partial shutdown owing to the manhunt.
In late March, Massachusetts State Troopers reportedly arrested the same suspect on weapons-related charges, and he was released the same day on $5,000 bail, NECN reported. He was due back in court today.
It had been almost 30 years since a police officer was fatally shot in Maine while in the line of duty.
BREAKING: Manhunt underway for suspect accused of shooting and killing Somerset County (Maine) Sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Cole in Norridgewock, ME. Suspect is 29 yo John Williams. @NBC10Boston pic.twitter.com/qc37CXuKN6
— Daniel Gadbois (@DanNBCBoston) April 25, 2018
Reacting to the tragic news of the fallen deputy, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster offered these comments, via CBS Boston.
“This is a very sad day for the Somerset County Sheriff’s office, the citizens of this county, and people of the state of Maine. We have lost an outstanding deputy today who served with great distinction for the last 13 years.”
This is a developing story; the Inquisitr will provide updates as information becomes available in the search for Somerset County Sheriff’s Corporal Eugene Cole’s killer.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family of fallen Deputy Sheriff Corporal Eugene Cole. If you live in Somerset County and the surrounding area, please cooperate with law enforcement and stay safe.
— Paul R. LePage (@Governor_LePage) April 25, 2018
HAPPENING NOW. Police escort for body of Cpl Eugene Cole being transported to Medical Examiners Office in Augusta. Police are lining intersections all along the way and on I-95 for a fallen brother. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/dKelfCarS7
— Gregg Lagerquist (@GreggWGME) April 25, 2018
Update: Authorities have released a dashcam image purportedly from outside the convenience store as well as an updated photo of the suspect.
— David Charns WMTW (@DavidWMTW) April 25, 2018
This is an updated photo of John Williams, wanted for murdering Cpl. Eugene Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff's Department earlier this morning. He's considered armed & dangerous. Anyone who sees Williams should call 911 immediately. pic.twitter.com/kWlkmKf2uz
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) April 25, 2018
Update2: Authorities captured the suspect on Saturday and arrested him using Deputy Eugene Cole’s handcuffs.
At approx. 12:43 pm today, @MEStatePolice, Maine Warden Service, Fairfield, ME Police, & @FBIBoston took John Williams safely into custody. Team needed to confirm his ID w/command staff. He wouldn't cooperate so they needed to facilitate this photo, courtesy of @MEStatePolice pic.twitter.com/fj8MklDhsp
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) April 28, 2018