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  • Maine sheriff's deputy fatally shot; suspect at large

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    By Marina Villeneuve Associated Press

    UPDATE (5:19 p.m. CST):

    NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — Law enforcement officials are vowing to maintain a heavy police presence overnight as the search continues for a man accused of killing a deputy in Maine.

    Police are searching for 29-year-old John Williams, of Madison, after they say he killed Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole early Wednesday, stole his cruiser and robbed a convenience store. The cruiser was later abandoned.

    State Police Lt. Col. John Cote said late Wednesday afternoon that dozens of agencies have been in the Norridgewock area. He says residents can rest assured that police will maintain a strong presence overnight as the search continues.

    Cote says police have received a lot of leads but they're still seeking information from the public. He says anyone who's had contact with Williams within the last 24 hours should contact police.

    EARLIER:

    NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — A man scheduled to appear in court to face gun charges Wednesday killed a sheriff's deputy in Maine, stole his cruiser and robbed a convenience store, officials said.

    The fatal shooting of Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole around 1:45 a.m. on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock triggered an intensive manhunt for the shooter in and around the heavily wooded rural town about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Bangor.

    Aircraft and armored vehicles were seen around Norridgewock, and schools were locked down as federal, state and local law enforcement officials searched for 29-year-old John Williams, of Madison, Maine, who police said abandoned the cruiser after robbing the store.

    "Many times we're able to say that there is not an ongoing threat, but that's not the case today," said State Police Lt. Col. John Cote. "There certainly is an ongoing public threat. He's considered armed and dangerous."

    Cole's death is believed to be the first killing of a law enforcement officer in Maine in nearly 30 years. The last time an officer was killed in the line of duty was in 1989, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

    On Wednesday afternoon, police escorted Cole's body to the state medical examiner's office in Augusta. Police at intersections along the way paid tribute as the vehicle carrying Cole's body passed by.

    Police said Williams is 5-foot-6, 120 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair in a ponytail. Maine records didn't indicate a lengthy criminal record, but Williams was arrested last month in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and charged with improper storage and carrying a firearm without a license.

    He was found with a 9mm handgun and a 16-round magazine after he told the police that he dozed off while driving on Route 495 and drove into a ditch. An officer wrote in the report that Williams appeared tired and impaired, but denied having consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs.

    Police also found containers with a powder residue, a pocket knife, razor blade and short drinking straw. The report noted that razor blades and straws are commonly used when snorting lines of narcotics. Williams was not charged with any drug offenses.

    A judge gave Williams $7,500 bail, which was lowered by a Superior Court judge to $5,000. He posted bail on March 31 and was due to return to court Wednesday for a probable cause hearing.

    Residents in Norridgewock, a town of about 3,500 huddled in the rain, as state police cruisers and federal agents investigated a blue-grey home believed to where Williams lived with his girlfriend.

    "We're a little on edge. It's unnerving knowing there's a guy running around out there," said Tasha Raymond, who was home with her two children.

    Gov. Paul LePage expressed his "deepest condolences" to Cole's family in a tweet. "If you live in Somerset County and the surrounding area, please cooperate with law enforcement and stay safe," the Republican governor said. LePage also directed all U.S and state flags to be flown at half-staff for at least three days.

    Cole has a son who also is a Somerset County deputy. Sheriff Dale Lancaster called Cole, a 13-year veteran of the department, an "outstanding employee, one of the finest deputies."

    A relative described Cole as a lover of music who was well-known throughout the community for his generous and peaceful ways.

    "He was one of the most caring and considerate people that I had the pleasure to know," said Madison resident Scott Bishop, whose mother had been married to Cole's brother.

    Thoughts are with the loved ones & colleagues of Corporal Eugene Cole. He was shot & killed in the line of duty this morning. @WMTWTV pic.twitter.com/M6SNvHOaJq

    — Tyler Cadorette (@TylerC_WMTW) April 25, 2018

    Updated photo of John Williams, 29, of Madison. He is still at large and considered armed and dangerous. Williams is the suspect in the deadly shooting of a Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy. This photo is from a previous arrest. @MEStatePolice pic.twitter.com/u93Csj0yll

    — Matthew Longfellow (@Longfellow_TV) April 25, 2018

    BREAKING: Maine State Police say it’s all hands on deck right now searching for suspect who shot deputy. Suspect is John Williams of Madison. It is an active manhunt say everyone should be extremely careful. He is considered to be on foot and heavily armed @WGME pic.twitter.com/dZD0rBEBCY

    — Lexie O'Connor (@LexieWGME) April 25, 2018

    BREAKING Somerset County Deputies say suspect who shot deputy this morning still at large is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous @WGME pic.twitter.com/a8evglv1Ux

    — Lexie O'Connor (@LexieWGME) April 25, 2018

    BREAKING A source confirms to @WGME that a Somerset County Sheriffs Deputy has been killed. pic.twitter.com/3X3qHLmGBQ

    — Lexie O'Connor (@LexieWGME) April 25, 2018


  • Dallas police officer dies day after shooting

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    By David Warren Associated Press

    DALLAS — The gunman accused of opening fire at a Dallas home improvement store — killing one police officer and critically injuring two others — was initially detained because he was acting suspiciously and may have tried to steal from the store, an arrest warrant revealed Wednesday.

    An off-duty officer who was working a part-time job at the Home Depot store in the north of the city learned Armando Luis Juarez, 29, had an outstanding felony warrant after he was detained by store officials for suspected shoplifting, according to the arrest warrant.

    Two on-duty officers, Rogelio Santander and Crystal Almeida, were called to the store and, along with a Home Depot loss-prevention officer, were speaking with Juarez in an office. The off-duty officer stepped away, heard a report of "shots fired" broadcast over the police radio and then rushed back to the office to find the officers and loss-prevention employee on the ground with gunshot wounds, according to the warrant.

    Investigators later reviewed police body-camera footage that showed Juarez pulling a handgun from his pocket as Santander and Almeida attempted to take him into custody, the warrant alleges.

    Santander died Wednesday of his injuries and Almeida and the loss-prevention officer, Scott Painter, were in critical condition.

    Juarez was arrested late Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault on a public servant and felony theft. He was subsequently charged with capital murder. Juarez was being held on a bond in excess of $1 million at the Dallas County jail.

    Police Chief U. Renee Hall said at a brief news conference Wednesday that Almeida and Painter are "making remarkable recoveries" following surgery.

    "This is going to be a trying time for us, so we're just asking you for your support at this time," Hall said.

    Police were called to the Home Depot in Lake Highlands at around 4 p.m. Tuesday to remove Juarez from the store. Hours after he escaped, his white pickup truck was spotted by police and a high-speed chase ensued, eventually resulting in his capture just before 10 p.m.

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said late Tuesday that he was "upset at the lack of respect for our police in this city and in our country."

    The next day, speaking at a city council meeting, Rawlings said, "I hope that we have a degree of respect and honor for our police and first responders today in everything that we do."

    In 2016, four Dallas police officers and a transit officer were shot dead by a sniper in an ambush that came toward the end of a peaceful protest over the police killings of black men in other cities.

    Relatives of Juarez said they couldn't believe he would be involved in such a violent episode.

    "There's no way my son could've done this," Ruben Juarez told The Dallas Morning News, adding that he didn't think his son owned any guns.

    Armando Juarez's grandmother, Janie Longoria, told reporters Tuesday that her grandson is a "sweet, lovable person," but that his friends are a bad influence.

    Juarez was arrested in January on a charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle after authorities say he was found in a stolen vehicle. He also pleaded guilty to a drug-possession charge.

    "And I told him to stay away from those people," Juarez's grandmother said.

    A Home Depot spokesman told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the shooting sent a wave of horror through the home improvement store chain's corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

    "We're heartbroken," said spokesman Stephen Holmes. He added that the chain's leadership team has been actively supporting Painter's family and offering counseling to his co-workers.

    Otherwise, Holmes said the company is referring to police all questions about the shooting and the run-up to it.

    This is Officer Rogelio Santander - we now know he didn't survive yesterday's shooting at that Home Depot, per Mayor Mike Rawlings. @wfaa It's a sad day for #Dallas. pic.twitter.com/nZUZbKDF52

    — Alisha Laventure (@AlishaLaventure) April 25, 2018

    If you would like to help with today’s events our Assist the Officer Foundation is available. Here’s how to donate https://t.co/Hua4Id3cw6

    — Dallas Police Assoc (@DPA_PoliceAssoc) April 25, 2018

    Dallas Officer Rogelio Santander died at 8:11 a.m. Wednesday, Chief Renee Hall said at a morning news conference. https://t.co/e1QklUw61S pic.twitter.com/Bf8X8JT9GT

    — NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) April 25, 2018

    NOW: Rogelio Santander fell in love with law enforcement while interning with @CommercePD in East Texas. Commerce is mourning his loss & honoring his service today. @wfaa #RogelioSantandar pic.twitter.com/Oi9FIEaNqE

    — David Goins (@dgoins) April 25, 2018


  • Authorities announce arrest of suspected Golden State Killer

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    By Sophia Bollag and Don Thompson Associated Press

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A DNA match led to the arrest of a 72-year-old former police officer in one of the most baffling and sadistic crime sprees of the 1970s and '80s — a string of at least 12 slayings and 45 rapes in California by an attacker dubbed the Golden State Killer, police said Wednesday.

    Armed with a gun, the masked attacker would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He sometimes tied up the man and piled dishes on his back, then raped the woman while threatening to kill them both if the dishes tumbled. He often took souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry, from his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41.

    The match led to Joseph James DeAngelo, who was fired in 1979 from the police department in Auburn, northeast of Sacramento. Despite an outpouring of thousands of tips over the years, his name had not been on authorities' radar before last week, District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

    "We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also knew that needle was there," Schubert said. "We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento."

    "The answer was always going to be in the DNA," she said.

    Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones referred to the genetic material as "discarded DNA," but authorities refused to give specifics about how it was collected or matched to the suspect.

    DeAngelo was arrested on suspicion of committing four killings in Sacramento and Ventura counties, authorities said.

    "Very possibly he was committing the crimes when he was employed as a peace officer," Jones said.

    The suspect was fired from the Auburn department in 1979 after he was arrested for stealing a can of dog repellant and a hammer from a drug store, according to Auburn Journal articles from the time.

    FBI agents were gathering evidence at a Sacramento-area home linked to DeAngelo, the agency said.

    As the crimes unfolded across the state, authorities called the attacker by different names. He was dubbed the East Area Rapist after his start in Northern California, the Original Night Stalker after a series of Southern California slayings and the Diamond Knot Killer for using an elaborate binding method on two of his victims.

    He was most recently called the Golden State Killer.

    Jane Carson-Sandler was sexually assaulted in 1976 in her home in Citrus Heights by a man believed to be the East Area Rapist. She said she received an email Wednesday from a retired detective who worked on the case telling her they had identified the rapist and he was in custody.

    "I have just been overjoyed, ecstatic. It's an emotional roller-coaster right now," Carson-Sandler, who now lives near Hilton Head, South Carolina, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I feel like I'm in the middle of a dream and I'm going to wake up and it's not going to be true. It's just so nice to have closure and to know he's in jail."

    In 2016, the FBI and California officials renewed their search for the East Area Rapist and announced a $50,000 reward for his arrest and conviction. He was linked to a total of more than 175 crimes between 1976 and 1986.

    Authorities decided to publicize the case in advance of the 40th anniversary of his first known assault in Sacramento County.

    DeAngelo, who was also a police officer in Exeter, in Southern California, from 1973 to 1976, was taken into custody without incident as officers surprised him at his Sacramento-area home, Jones said.

    "This was a truly a convergence of emerging technology and dogged determination by detectives," Jones added.

    Neighbors knew DeAngelo as a man who whose angry, curse-filled outbursts would carry through the neighborhood if he couldn't find his keys or something else set him off.

    "He liked the F word a lot," neighbor Natalia Bedes-Correnti said.

    He never yelled at people, she said, just lashed out when he'd get frustrated.

    "He'd be out on his driveway yelling and screaming, looking for his keys," she said. "I could hear him from inside my house yelling and screaming. He was very loud."

    But he hadn't had an outburst in several years, she said, and she assumed he was mellowing in old age or receiving professional help.

    Kevin Tapia, now 36, said when he was a teenager, DeAngelo falsely accused him of throwing things over their shared fence, prompting a heated exchange between DeAngelo and Tapia's father. He said DeAngelo could often be heard cursing in frustration in his backyard.

    "No one thinks they live next door to a serial killer," Tapia said. "But at the same time I'm just like, he was a weird guy. He kept to himself. When you start to think about it you're like, I could see him doing something like that, but I would never suspect it."


  • 'CHiPs' star donates K-9 to police department

    By PoliceOne Staff

    ST. ANTHONY, Idaho — An Idaho police department received a new K-9 thanks to “CHiPs” star Erik Estrada.

    The Idaho State Journal reported that Estrada recently donated a 3-year-old narcotics dog to the St. Anthony Police Department. Chief Allen Neff introduced K-9 Mako, who recently returned from extensive training in Utah, to the force.

    “It will be a phenomenal asset not only to us but to the community,” Chief Neff said.

    The department has experienced an ongoing problem with funding and didn’t have the opportunity to afford the $15,000 needed to get the K-9. After learning about their problem, Estrada and a team of reserve officers came up with the funds to provide the department with a narcotics dog.

    “The reserve team started a fundraising campaign conducted in October of last year and March of this year allowing the police department to purchase K-9 Mako without (the department) having to reallocate funds from an already stretched budget,” Chief Neff said.

    Sgt. Greg Belew, Mako’s handler, and Chief Neff both expressed their gratitude for the donation. Mako and Belew will attend Idaho’s Police Officer Standards and training to get their Idaho certificate.

    Estrada became a reserve officer for the St. Anthony Police Department in July 2016. Since then, the actor has continued to work with the department and contributed funds and materials to help the department.


  • Sheriff: 'Red flag bill' could have saved slain deputy’s life

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    By PoliceOne Staff

    DENVER — A Colorado sheriff said a “Red Flag Bill” being discussed by state lawmakers could have saved the life of a deputy who was killed in an ambush.

    Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said he believes Deputy Zackari Parrish may still be alive if the state had a “Red Flag Bill,” Denver7 reported. Parrish was killed in an ambush after entering an apartment on Dec. 31, 2017.

    "I think everyone should have guns. If you want them you can have them," Spurlock said. "Except for two groups of people. If you're a criminal out committing crimes, I don't think you should have guns. But also if you're in a mental health crisis, we should be able to both protect you from yourself and the community."

    Authorities said they knew the man who killed Parrish was in crisis and possessed several firearms before the shooting. Spurlock said the man would not have been able to use the 11 weapons that were in his home under the law because “they would have all been secured.”

    The “Red Flag Bill” hasn’t been officially introduced at the Colorado Capitol but discussions have been ongoing, according to Denver7. The bill would give family members of law enforcement a legal tool to raise a “red flag” if someone was going through a mental health crises and presented a danger to themselves or others.

    Family and authorities can then get an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” to remove weapons and ammunition from the person’s home.

    Many opponents of the bill are concerned the bill would violate their constitutional rights, while those who favor it say it will save lives and help prevent suicides.

    Spurlock said the bill is common sense and has due process protections. The sheriff added the legislative committee for the County Sheriffs of Colorado unanimously supported the measure.

    "This shouldn't be made political," Spurlock said. "I think this bill will save lives across the board."


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