A Somerset County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed Wednesday morning on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock, Sheriff Dale Lancaster said by phone Wednesday morning.

Killed was 62-year-old Eugene Cole, Lancaster said at a press conference later Wednesday morning in Norridgewock. Cole has a son, David, who is also employed as a deputy by the sheriff’s office.

The suspect, who remains at large as of 2:30 p.m. and is considered armed and dangerous, was identified as John Williams, 29, of Madison. He is described as 5-foot 6-inches tall, weighing about 120 pounds. Police said this afternoon during a press conference that earlier descriptions of Williams having a shaved head and ponytail are not accurate. Police provided a new mugshot from an arrest in Massachusetts about a month ago and said Williams appearance is similar.

Police urge anyone who sees Williams to call 911.

Multiple law enforcement officials were on scene in the Norridgewock and Skowhegan area Wednesday morning following an early morning report of a robbery at a local convenience store.

Authorities said Cole was shot between 1 and 2 a.m. and that Williams stole Cole’s fully marked police cruiser, drove to the Cumberland Farms store in Norridgewock and committed a theft there. Williams then fled the scene in Cole’s cruiser.

Cole’s cruiser was found abandoned shortly after 5 a.m. off of Martin Stream Road in Norridgewock.

“We believe the suspect then fled the vehicle and is presently at large,” Maine State Police said in a news release. “The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.”

Law enforcement were pursuing the suspect across the central Maine region, with multiple area schools going into lockdown as a precaution. AOS 92 schools serving Waterville and Winslow went into lockdown, as did those in Oakland and Norridgewock. In addition, Regional School Unit 3 schools went into lockout mode.

RSU 3 Superintendent Paul Austin said the lockout is precautionary.  During a lockout, all doors remain locked and no one is allowed to enter or leave school facilities until the lockout is lifted. RSU 3 serves students from Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo.

Armed officers were seen in the Skowhegan and Oakland areas this morning.

A robbery was first reported at the Cumberland Farms store on Waterville Road in Norridgwock at 1:42 a.m., according to emergency dispatch reports from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Several Somerset County officers arrived on scene within 10 minutes, according to the reports, followed by a dozen or more law enforcement officials. Officers from Oakland and Madison and Maine State Police responded as well, and Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

Two Maine State Troopers armed with long rifles were stationed in a yard on North Avenue, opposite McCarthy’s excavation, in Skowhegan at about 8:30 a.m. They would not comment on what was going on.

Police radio traffic said the FBI with an aircraft were scheduled to arrive in the area at about 9:45 a.m.

Centralmaine.com staff writers Amy Calder and Emily Higginbotham, and Republican Journal reporter Fran Gonzalez contributed reporting.