Four victims were found at a home in Bowdoin Tuesday morning after being fatally shot. Maine State Police have identified 34-year-old Joseph Eaton of Bowdoin as the shooter and have arrested and charged him with murder of the four victims. He is also connected to the shooting of three more individuals on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth, but has yet to be formally charged.
Two of the victims found in the Augusta Road residence where the shootings took place have been identified as Eaton’s parents, 63-year-old Cynthia Eaton and 62-year-old David Eaton. The other two victims were 72-year-old Robert Eger and 62-year-old Patricia Eger — homeowners of the residence in Bowdoin and friends of the Eatons.
Maine State Police received the 911 call from a concerned friend around 9:20 a.m. on Tuesday. Police have confirmed that the victims died from gunshot wounds, and were determined to be homicides.
The shooting did not end there as three more people were wounded an hour after the initial incident on an Interstate 295 exit in Yarmouth. According to reports from the Bangor Daily, it was roughly 25 miles between the Bowdoin and Yarmouth shootings. Maine State Police identified the victims in a press conference Wednesday afternoon as Sean Halsey, 51, Justin Halsey, 29 and Paige Halsey, 25. All three were taken to Maine Medical Center and Paige Halsey is currently in critical condition.
Eaton has confessed to the murders of his parents and the Egers and confessed to the shooting in the Yarmouth incident as well. He told officers he believed the victims’ car was police trying to follow him.
Shortly after beginning their search, police found Eaton in a wooded area before being transported to Maine Medical Center. He was released without injury before being taken into custody.
According to Col. William Ross of the state police, he was released on April 14 from Windham Correctional Center where he was serving two years for aggravated assault. He was picked up by his mother a few days ago and taken to the residence where the murders occurred.
Governor Janet Mills took to Twitter to express her condolences to the victims and their families, “Like people across Maine, I am shocked and deeply saddened.” Mills says acts of violence like this “shake our state and communities to the core.”
The Associated Press reported that law enforcement closed a portion of the interstate Tuesday and residents in the area were placed under lockdown before authorities could determine there was no further threat to the public.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said at the news conference that these acts are a shock to everyone and “an attack on the soul of our state.”
According to police reports, Eaton was transported to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, and will make his initial appearance in court Thursday, April 20 at the District Court in West Bath.
“Yesterday’s events were tragic, there’s no other way to describe it,” Sagadahoc Sheriff Joel Merry said at Wednesday’s press conference. Merry said it took approximately 10 minutes to get to the home in Bowdoin after receiving the 911 call on Tuesday. “Bowdoin is a wonderful community and I’m heartsick over this tragedy that has occurred…it’s going to take some time to heal.”
At this time the investigation is still ongoing by a collaborative effort between Maine law enforcement, but they believe this to be an isolated incident. Police have determined no others to be involved in the crimes. State police are asking anyone with information to call the Augusta Regional Communication Center at 207-624-7076.
(This story is developing)
Updated 7:30 p.m.