NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine – The four-day manhunt in Maine comes to a successful, yet exhaustive conclusion. The suspect wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a deputy was in custody. Moreover, he was arrested with the slain deputy’s own handcuffs, the police said.
John Williams, 29, was captured by authorities Saturday, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster confirmed during a news conference, adding that he was taken into custody at a camp near Route 139 in Norridgewock, reported Boston Herald.
When asked by a reporter about the detail involving the handcuffs, the sheriff confirmed that the ones used had belonged to Cpl. Eugene Cole, 62, the shooting victim. The sheriff said he “felt that it was fitting.”
Williams “was brought to justice using Cole’s handcuffs,” Lancaster said.
— Maine State Police (@MEStatePolice) April 28, 2018
The sheriff said he notified Cole’s family about William’s capture and “they were relieved, thankful and very grateful.”
State Police Lt. Col. John Cote said that Williams was apprehended by a seven-man team, comprising several different law enforcement agencies, and that the suspect did “give limited resistance.”
On Saturday, about 150 law enforcement officers remained in the area as searchers took advantage of improving weather to use ground patrols and aircraft to focus on a certain section of woods, where they believed Williams might be hiding.
Williams is accused of fatally shooting Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. The corporal was killed around 1:45 a.m. on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock, 30 miles north of the state capital of Augusta.
Williams has a lengthy criminal background. He was arrested in March for carrying a firearm without a license.
Following the shooting, Williams stole Cole’s cruiser and then robbed a convenience store, officials said. After fleeing the store, he abandoned the vehicle, which was found around 5 a.m., officials confirmed.
The announcement of Williams’ capture came just minutes after a press briefing in which Cole’s widow pleaded with Williams to turn himself him.
“This is all that we’re asking of you. Please, please talk to us,” the widow said.
Lancaster said he was “extremely relieved that we have Williams in custody” and was also “extremely saddened by the death of my deputy.”
He described Cole as “an outstanding officer” and said they could “now focus on the important task of respectfully laying our fallen brother to rest.”
Images show an exhausted and shirtless Williams being taken out of a wooded area at 1:15 p.m. He was put into the back seat of an unmarked state police vehicle and whisked away.
— NEWS CENTER Maine (@newscentermaine) April 28, 2018
“I’m just glad it ended peacefully, and no one else got hurt,” said Tasha Raymond, whose kids have been forced to play indoors for the past four days.
Helicopters, armored vehicles and scores of state, federal and local officers poured into Norridgewock during the search.
It’s still unclear what preceded the shooting.
However, Cole had been involved in the arrest of Williams’ girlfriend several days earlier, and Williams was worried about being arrested himself for failing to appear in court in Massachusetts on firearm charges the day of the shooting.
Williams was angry about his girlfriend’s arrest and he’d told a friend that “as of tomorrow, I’ll be a fugitive.” The friend said Williams was acting paranoid and noticed that he had body armor in one of his bags.
Cole was a member of the sheriff’s office for 13 years and has a son employed by the agency, according to authorities. His funeral is slated for Monday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, reported Fox News.
A public viewing is set for Sunday at the Skowhegan Armory. The corporal’s death is the first time in 29 years that a Maine officer was shot and killed in the line of duty.