A massive manhunt is underway for 29-year-old John Williams who shot and killed Deputy Eugene Cole early Wednesday morning. After shooting the deputy, Williams allegedly stole his squad car and drove it to a local convenience store, which he robbed at gunpoint. Williams’ whereabouts are currently unknown, and he is considered armed and dangerous.
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Somerset County Sheriff Department, located in Maine, reported the death of Cole this morning. It is estimated that Cole was killed around 1:45 am, according to Fox News.
After Williams shot and killed Cole, he drove Cole’s squad car to a nearby convenience store called Cumberland Farms. Following his armed robbery there, Williams apparently decided to abandon the squad car.
Officials believe that Williams left the scene of the robbery around 5 a.m. The police also indicated that it is currently unclear if Williams obtained another vehicle or if he is proceeding on foot.
Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster, who was said to have been a close friend of Cole’s, released an image of the suspected killer. Williams was described as being 5-foot-6, blue eyes, brown hair with a ponytail and 120 pounds.
CBS News reported Williams was arrested on a firearms violation in Massachusetts in March, but he posted $5,000 bail and was released. He was due back in court on Wednesday for his hearing on the gun violation. He is considered to be armed at this time. The FBI is sending agents to assist with the investigation, the Bangor Daily News reported.
Following the senseless murder, Sheriff Lancaster spoke at the press conference remembering Cole as a great officer and a father. “He was one of the finest deputies that you would want to meet.” Cole is said to have left behind a son.
Authorities plan to use any means necessary to find Williams. Since the surrounding area is heavily wooded, helicopters are being dispatched to help with the search. Somerset County Sheriff deputies had their guns drawn when they searched Williams’ last known address, but he was not home.
Flock of sirens passing the robbed Cumberland Farms station where the suspect at the cernter of a nationwide manhunt headed after shooting and killing a Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy. pic.twitter.com/dgtfEHehe3
— Callie Ferguson (@calliecferguson) April 25, 2018
This week marks the deaths of two officers in the United States as Officer Rogelio Santander, who was a Dallas police officer, succumbed to his wounds early Wednesday morning.