Authorities in Maine launched a dragnet Wednesday after a man shot and killed a sheriff's representative, stole his cruiser and then robbed a grocery store, officials said.
Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said corporal Eugene Cole was killed at 1: 45 pm on US Route 2 in Norridgewock, about 30 miles north of the state capital Augusta. Cole was one of two police officers shot nationwide after a Dallas police officer died the previous day.
"He was one of the best MPs you wanted to meet," said Lancaster Cole at a news conference
The authorities said the suspect, 29-year-old John Williams, had stolen Cole's police cruiser after filming and sent him to a Cumberland Farms store, a 24-hour gas – and general store, brought. and robs it. Lancaster did not disclose details of what had happened before the deputy was shot dead.
After fleeing the store, Williams gave up the car, which was found around 5 in the morning, officials said. It is not known if Williams is in another vehicle or on foot.
"Many times we can say that there is no continuing threat, but that is not the case today," said Lt Col Colonel John Cote said at a press conference. "There is certainly a continuing public threat, he is considered armed and dangerous."
Lancaster said during an evening press conference that "this still remains a very active investigation" and that the authorities were investigating during the day.
"Do not teach Williams now," Lancaster said. "He remains armed and extremely dangerous."
Williams is described as 5-foot-6, 120 pounds and with blue eyes and brown hair in a ponytail, Lancaster said.
Williams was arrested on March 22 in Massachusetts for firearms violations, according to a police report. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex Procuratorate, told the Associated Press that Williams has deposited a $ 5,000 bail and is due to appear in court on Wednesday.
The FBI told WGME that they are sending assistance to the Somerset County Sheriff's Office and Maine State Police with the investigation.
Cole was a sheriff for 13 years and had a son, according to Lancaster.
"We have lost an outstanding Member today," he said.
The authorities are now conducting a search in the area, including helicopters, to locate Williams.
OFFICERS IN THE LINE FOLLOWED OBLIGATION IN 2018
Maine Gov. Paul LePage asked residents in Somerset County and the surrounding area "to stay safe"
"Our deepest condolences go to the family of the fallen assistant Sheriff Corporal Eugene Cole," LePage wrote on Twitter. "If you live in Somerset County and the surrounding area, please work with law enforcement and stay safe."
Senator Susan Collins said on Twitter that she was "deeply saddened with the news".
"I am deeply saddened to learn Cpl. Eugene Cole was killed in duty this morning in Norridgewock," said Collins. "Cpl. Cole served the citizens of Somerset County for 13 years with honor and distinction, and Maine will be eternally grateful for his courageous actions to protect his community."
Inhabitants of the city of about 3,500 people were asked to be vigilant Because there are heavy forests in the area. The authorities sent weapons from a house in Madison where the suspect lives, about 8 miles from where the gun was fired.
"We're a little nervous, it's annoying to know there's a guy running around out there." Tasha Raymond, who was home with her two children, told the Associated Press.
The last time a Maine official was shot was 29 years ago on March 31, 1989, according to WGME. Maine State Police Detective Giles Landry was gunned down in a police cruiser in front of a mobile home in Leeds while investigating a child abuse case.
Fox News Shira Bush, Elizabeth Zwirz, and The Associated Press contributed to the report. 19659032] Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed