The man accused of killing a Somerset County Sheriff’s deputy took a bottle of water and a pack of Old Gold cigarettes when he robbed a Norridgewock convenience store the night Cpl. Eugene Cole was slain, according to a newly released 911 transcript.

The transcript, released Wednesday by the Office of the Maine Attorney General, describes the phone call that helped spur the four-day manhunt for John Williams, who has been charged with murder in Cole’s fatal shooting in Norridgewock on April 25.

Williams, 29, was carrying a gun when he robbed the Cumberland Farms in Norridgewock before fleeing in Cole’s pickup truck, according to the transcript.

“Umm, the kid just come in here and I … he wanted Old Gold, I grabbed it, he grabbed it out of my hand,” said the female store clerk who called 911 early that morning. “He had a water and he was driving a sheriff’s ahh, pickup truck and he had a gun.”

The woman described a short, thin man in his late 20s who she said was a regular customer at the store.

“He came in and grabbed the water and like I said, I know, well not know him, but he comes in here all the time,” the clerk said.


She said Williams was driving a white pickup with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office logo on the side and 1312 – Cole’s call number – on the license plate.

She recognized the truck because it had stopped at the convenience store for gas earlier that night and because it was the same one driven by “the older sheriff guy who patrols around here and has a son here also.”

Cole was a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. His son David Cole works as a deputy for the sheriff’s office.

“They said it had 1312 on it,” the dispatcher said. “Do we have 1312? COM 1312? 1311? Yeah, she’s reporting that it said 1312 on the plate and we’re having negative contact with 12. Which … Ma’am which way did he go?”

The clerk said Williams took off fast and appeared to be headed toward Smithfield. The dispatcher told her to lock the door and that police would be on their way to the store.

Cole was found dead from a single gunshot wound outside a home on Mercer Road on April 25.

Williams was arrested April 28 outside a camp in Fairfield, in part of a wooded area that was searched by around 200 law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies after the robbery.

Police have not offered a motive for the killing. Though Cole was involved in the arrest of Williams’ girlfriend on drug charges just a few days before the murder, a previously released police affidavit suggested it was a moment of happenstance between Cole and Williams, who was on edge about a court appearance in Massachusetts on firearm charges.

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