NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine (WHDH) — A large-scale manhunt is underway in Maine for a 29-year-old man accused of shooting and killing a 63-year-old sheriff’s deputy in Norridgewock early Wednesday morning, officials said.
Authorities say they’re looking for John Williams, whose last known address was in Madison. He’s described as being 5-foot, 6-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds with brown hair, a ponytail, and blue eyes.
Williams is accused of shooting and killing Somerset County Cpl. Sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Cole, a 13-year veteran of the department, and should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” officials warned. A nationwide bulletin has been issued.
Aircraft and armored vehicles were seen around Norridgewock and schools were locked down.
“Many times we’re able to say that there is not an ongoing threat, but that’s not the case today,” State Police Lt. Col. John Cote said. “There certainly is an ongoing public threat.”
During a press conference Wednesday, a sheriff’s office spokesman described Cole as an “outstanding employee” and “one of the finest deputies you’d ever want to meet.”
After shooting and killing Cole between 1 and 2 a.m., officials said Williams stole the deputy’s marked cruiser and drove it to a nearby Cumberland Farms, where he robbed the clerk before driving away. Cole’s cruiser was later found abandoned and officials believe Williams fled the vehicle on foot.
Massachusetts State Police say Williams was arrested on weapons charges last month after his car went off the road on Route 495 in Haverhill. Williams, who didn’t have a license to carry a firearm, was facing charges including possessing a firearm and ammunition without a license and possessing a large capacity feeding device.
Williams was released after posting $5,000 cash bail on March 31. He was slated to appear Wednesday in Haverhill District Court for a probable cause hearing, a spokeswoman for the Essex District Attorney’s Office said.
The FBI’s Boston office is assisting Maine State Police with the investigation.
This is a developing story; stay with 7News for more information as it becomes available.
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