Maine, US | April 26
A sheriff on Thursday urged a man sought in the killing of a deputy to turn himself in and warned a community to stay vigilant during a manhunt in what is believed to be the first slaying of a law enforcement officer in Maine in nearly 30 years.
The fatal shooting of Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole on Wednesday in Norridgewock triggered an intensive search for 29-year-old John Williams in and around the heavily wooded rural community about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Bangor.
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“I’m asking John Williams, personally, if you are listening to my words today, I implore you to turn yourself in,” Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said at a news conference. He said authorities have had no contact with Williams.
Officials said Williams, of Madison, Maine, was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to face gun charges when he killed the 62-year-old Cole, stole his cruiser and robbed a convenience store.
Authorities told residents to keep their doors and cars locked, and said officers have been assigned to areas schools. They believe Williams is still in the area.
Lancaster said 175 to 200 officers from multiple agencies, including the FBI, have been working on the case and are being assisted by law enforcement in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
State Police Lt. Col. John Cote asked the public for help and stressed the safe return of Williams.
“He is the only one who can answer the questions we have,” Cote said.
Helicopters, armored vehicles and police cruisers were spotted around Norridgewock, and schools were locked down as federal, state and local law enforcement poured into the region to look for Williams.
Law enforcement officials said he had arrest records in Maine, Tennessee and Massachusetts.
That image contrasts with Williams’ days at Skowhegan High School, where a yearbook showed he once served as a class officer.
“When in school he was a nice, funny and an all-around good guy,” said classmate Casey Sprout-Costa.