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‘We Will Never Forget You’: Funeral Held for Slain Deputy

What to Know

  • Cpl. Eugene Cole was killed April 25 in Norridgewock, Maine, while working his shift for the Somerset County Sheriff's Office.
  • Cole served with his department for 13-years before he was fatally shot by a career criminal.
  • Cole is the first member of law enforcement to be killed in the line of duty in Maine since 1989.

More than 10,000 people, including police officers from around the country, paid their final respects Monday to the Maine sheriff's deputy who was recently killed in the line of duty.

Sixty-one-year-old Cpl. Eugene Cole was killed April 25 in Norridgewock while working an early morning shift for the Somerset County Sheriff's Office.

"Gene worked every day to make Somerset County and Norridgewock a safer place to live," Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said Monday. "In the early morning hours of April 25, Gene paid the ultimate sacrifice. He lost his life performing his sworn duties while protecting the citizens of Somerset County."

"Goodbye for now my friend," Lancaster added. "We will never forget you."

Cole's son David, who is also a Somerset County deputy, spoke at the funeral, saying this is the end of an amazing chapter, but the story continues.

"Rest easy dad," David Cole said. "We've got the watch from here."

A procession of 40 police vehicles, led by an elite motorcycle unit from the New York City Police Department, brought Cole's body from a funeral home in Skowhegan to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor for Monday's funeral service.

"This is going to be a major step towards closure for the family," Maine Service Warden Cpl. John MacDonald said before the service. "With all the events that took place in the last 10 and 11 days, with the manhunt going on, I think today will be a time where people can reflect on Eugene, honor his work history and personal life. It's going to be a major portion of the family, and really the community's, closure."

A public viewing for Cole, a 13-year veteran of the department, was held Sunday evening while a private viewing was held for family and close friends on Saturday.

Cole served in the U.S. Army before joining the sheriff's department. He also ran an electronics business and dabbled in music in his spare time.

Cole and his wife Sheryl have four children.

"With the help and support of my family, my community, and my country, I will get through this," Sheryl Cole wrote in a Facebook post following the capture of her husband's alleged gunman.

John Williams, 29, of Madison, is being held without bail pending a probable cause hearing and a mental health evaluation in connection to Cole's shooting death after a four-day manhunt.

Williams allegedly shot Cole in the head and then stole the deputy's marked police pickup truck sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. in Norridgewock before robbing a convenience store. Williams called a friend during that time, reportedly saying Cole "snuck up on him, or that he snuck up on Cole, he couldn't remember," and then met the friend on Martin Stream Road, where Cole's police pickup was discovered around 5 a.m., according to court documents.

The friend told police Williams "immediately took out his crack pipe and began smoking drugs" once he was picked up, according to the affidavit, and that he gave Williams his cell phone and told him to get out of his car. The friend drove away and found a Fairfield police officer, telling him what had happened.

Cole's body was found later that morning behind a home on Mercer Road in Norridgewock, according to court paperwork.

Cole is the first member of law enforcement to be killed in the line of duty in Maine since 1989.

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