November 20, 2019
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Police offer reward in hunt for Maine deputy’s suspected killer

NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — Police said Thursday night they believed the man suspected of fatally gunning down a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy was still in the area, and they offered a $20,000 reward to anyone able to provide information leading to his arrest.

John Daniel Williams, 29, of Madison is still considered armed and dangerous. He is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, 120 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

“We want to assure the citizens of Somerset County that there will be a greater police presence this evening,” Sheriff Dale Lancaster said during a Thursday night news conference.

Police say that early Wednesday morning, Williams shot Cpl. Eugene Cole, stole his police cruiser and drove it to the Cumberland Farms convenience store in Norridgewock. He allegedly robbed the store and took off again in Cole’s vehicle, eventually abandoning it on Martin Stream Road before fleeing on foot.

Courtesy of the FBI
Courtesy of the FBI
John D. Williams has at least eight tattoos, including the words “SEVEN ELEVEN” on his chest, below his collarbones; the abbreviation “est” in between his pectorals; and the name “WILLIAMS” on his lower abdomen, above his navel.

Investigators still weren’t revealing many facts about the shooting, including a possible motive. The details are “still part of the ongoing investigation, and I’m not at liberty to get into the facts,” Lancaster said.

It was revealed Thursday that Williams’ girlfriend, Kristina A. Pomerleau, 32, of Norridgewock, was arrested on Saturday, April 21.

“There was a relationship there,” Lancaster confirmed.

She was booked at the Somerset County Jail on East Madison Road at 4:22 p.m. Saturday and charged with unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs, possession of scheduled drugs, operating after suspension and possession of a suspended license, according to jail records. Pomerleau remained there Thursday evening, a jail employee confirmed.

[Timeline: What we know about the shooting death of Cpl. Eugene Cole and the manhunt for John D. Williams]

Chris Shulenksi, who said he is friends with Williams, told media outlets Thursday that he gave Williams a ride before the shooting took place Wednesday morning.

“He was worried. The next day he had court. He said, ‘Chris, I don’t know if I can do it this time,” Schulenski told News Center Maine.

Shulenski said Williams said he was “probably going to be a fugitive,” and that he was worried about him.

“I don’t feel like I’ll see him alive again, I really don’t,” he said. “I want to say, “John, turn yourself in.’ But I know him too well, and I don’t see it going like that.”

[‘You hope this never happens’: Killing of sheriff’s deputy ripples through Maine’s law enforcement]

Norridgewock’s Upper Main Street on Thursday morning was lined with American flags honoring the first Maine law enforcement officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty in nearly 30 years. Some local deputies wore a black band across their sheriff’s badges to honor their fallen colleague.

Wednesday and overnight, authorities responded to five “suspicious” tips regarding Williams, but none brought police closer to finding him, Lancaster said. Police are working in 12-hour shifts, scouring the region and conducting interviews.

Police want to capture Williams alive, “because he’s the only one that can answer the questions that we have,” Cote said.

On Thursday afternoon, investigators offered a $20,000 reward in exchange for information leading to Williams’ arrest. Tips can be reported to the Maine State Police, at (207) 624-7076, or submitted electronically, at tips.fbi.gov.

[Slain officer remembered as gentleman and skilled negotiator]

Williams had been scheduled to appear in a Massachusetts court Wednesday for an initial hearing in an illegal gun case that could lead to a sentence of more than 10 years in prison, according to a spokeswoman for the Essex County district attorney’s office and court documents.

He was arrested in Massachusetts last month and faces a variety of charges, including possessing a firearm without a license. He was arrested on March 22 and posted bail on March 31, according to state police and Carrie Kimball Monahan of the Essex County district attorney’s office.

— BDN reporter Callie Ferguson contributed to this report.

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