Sheriff Delivers Message To Shooting Suspect As Manhunt Continues
At a media conference this morning, the Somerset County Sheriff's Department asked residents to be vigilant and had a message for suspect John Williams.
Law enforcement officials blanketed central Maine yesterday, searching for 29-year-old John Williams of Madison. He's accused of killing Corporal Eugene Cole, a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff's department, and stealing his fully marked cruiser. Williams can be seen in dash-cam images from the cruiser entering and exiting the Cumberland Farms in Norridgewock that he's accused of robbing. The cruiser was then abandoned and Williams vanished.
Sheriff Lancaster from Somerset County addressed reporters today at a media conference and sent a message to Williams, asking him to turn himself in. He went on to say that they're asking residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior. Investigators responded to five such calls last night that turned up empty, but say they have a team dedicated to following up on every tip. Williams is considered armed and very dangerous, so residents are urged to call 911 if they believe they've spotted him, but they should not approach him.
State and local police agencies, sheriff's departments, U.S. Marshal's, and the FBI are helping to investigate the case and search for Williams, including surrounding his Madison residence yesterday, walking through wooded areas, and conducting road blocks. The agencies have regrouped today and Lancaster said the bulk of the search will remain in the Somerset County area, although they won't comment on whether they think someone may be helping Williams to hide. Officials said that they haven't had any indication that he's left the area, but a report of a stolen vehicle could change that.
Schools in SAD 54 are practicing lock-in conditions today and there is a law enforcement presence at area schools.. That means that students are in class, but all outside activities, like physical education or recess are suspended. Parents can opt to keep their children at home today and the absence will be excused. Anyone visiting any of the schools today will need to be approved over surveillance video and buzzed into the building.
We'll update this story as more details become available.