Police Search For Suspect Who Allegedly Shot, Killed Sheriff's Deputy

The Somerset County Sheriff's Office has identified a deputy shot and killed early this morning and says the suspect is still at large.

At a press conference today, officials identified the deceased member of the Somerset County Sheriff's Office as Corporal Eugene Cole, a 13-year veteran with the department. The center photo (above) shows law enforcement officials saluting Corporal Cole's body outside the State Medical Examiner's Office in Augusta.

Sometime between 1 a.m and 2 a.m. Wednesday, a suspect identified as John Williams, 29, of Madison, stole Cole's fully-marked cruiser and used it to drive to Cumberland Farms in Norridgewock. Williams allegedly robbed the store and then took off in the vehicle.

That cruiser was found abandoned off Martin Stream Road in Norridgewock. The suspect remains at large and is considered armed and extremely dangerous. Williams is described as 5'6" tall, about 120 pounds, with blue eyes.

A massive nationwide manhunt is underway, involving Maine law enforcement agencies, as well as members of the U.S. Marshal's Service and the FBI. The search also involves air support.

NBCBoston reports Williams was arrested in March for several firearms charges and traffic violations in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Police in that state arrested him after finding him with a disabled vehicle in the ditch on I-495 on March 22nd. Williams had a firearm and did not have a license to carry it. He was scheduled to appear in a Massachusetts court on a pre-trial motion today.

We'll update this story as more details become available. 

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