CBS News reports that a nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect in the shooting and murder of a Maine sheriff's deputy. This deputy was the 25th to be gunned down this year while working in the line of duty. The FBI has announced a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the suspect’s arrest, and hundreds of officers have been searching for him.
John Williams is still considered armed and dangerous. Many parts of Maine were on lockdown Thursday, with officers being brought in from two other states to help. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have also been searching for Williams.
Williams was supposed to appear in court in Massachusetts Wednesday for a case involving gun charges. However, just hours before, he robbed a store before killing Somerset County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole and stealing his cruiser.
The sheriff has issued public pleas for Williams to surrender himself peacefully to police.
In the Massachusetts gun case, prosecutors had requested a bail of $10,000 at Williams’ arraignment. This was later reduced to $5,000 by a judge and Williams was able to post bail and leave. This move welcomed criticism from even the state’s Governor.
Cole worked as an officer for 13 years and is the first policeman to be killed in Maine in almost 30 years. He has four children, and his son is also a member of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.
*Photo credit Maine State Police