A registered sex offender with a history of domestic violence went on a deadly rampage over a large swath of northern Maine early Friday, killing two men, injuring four other people and kidnapping a 21-year-old woman, police said.
Authorities launched a massive manhunt to find Anthony Lord, 35, who at one point during a high-speed chase was shooting at a pursuing officer out of the window of a stolen pickup truck, Maine State Police said during a news conference after Lord was arrested Friday.
In a crime spree that began Thursday night in Benedicta and continued Friday morning in Silver Ridge Township, Benedicta and Lee, Lord also is suspected of stealing two vehicles, shooting out the windows of his brother’s house and setting a barn on fire, police said. At one point during the manhunt, law enforcement agencies set up numerous roadblocks around Lee and manned them with officers armed with high-powered rifles.
After learning from a relative that Lord was at an uncle’s house in Houlton, police arrested him and freed the kidnapping victim, Brittany Irish, without incident at 2 p.m. Friday. Investigators, who were trying to piece together a motive for Lord’s violence, said Irish and Lord know each other, but didn’t indicate how.
Lord, who lives in the towns of Crystal and Sherman, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. He could be charged with other crimes.
Police say Lord shot and killed Irish’s boyfriend, Kyle Hewitt, 22, and Kevin Tozier, 58, of Lee. Tozier was shot while Lord was stealing a pulp truck from a Lee woodlot, police said.
Irish’s mother, Kim Irish, 55, was wounded, as were Clayton McCarthy, 55, the owner of the pulp truck, and Carlton Eddy, who was shot while driving his pickup near Irish’s home, police said.
Officials first received a report at 8:30 p.m. Thursday of a barn fire at the residence where Irish lives with her parents on Aroostook Road in Benedicta. Lord is a suspect in the fire, which is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
At 4:40 a.m. Friday, authorities received a report of an assault at a home in Silver Ridge Township, where police believe Lord tied up Kary Mayo and stole guns and a pickup truck. Ten minutes later, the windows were shot out at Lord’s brother’s residence in Benedicta.
Police received a call 25 minutes after that, saying that a man and a woman at the home where the barn had burned had been shot. The man, Hewitt, was taken by Lifeflight helicopter but died at a nearby hospital.
Eddy, who drove by the burning barn and turned around in the driveway at about the same time, was shot in the shoulder through the passenger’s side window, police said.
Lord left that house with Irish, police said.
About 5:50 a.m., an East Millinocket officer spotted the pickup and tried to pull it over but it sped off, police said. As the officer chased the stolen pickup, Lord started shooting out his window at the officer, police said. The officer was not injured, but lost track of the pickup near Route 157 in Crystal.
The search for Lord – who was described as being 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing 263 pounds and having blond hair and blue eyes – was joined by a number of state, local, federal and county law enforcement agencies.
Police then learned of the shootings of McCarthy and Tozier, who were working at a wood lot on Winn Road in Lee. The stolen pulp truck was later recovered in Haynesville. Authorities shut down roads around Lee in Penobscot County on Friday morning while they searched for Lord. The roads were later reopened.
Lee, which has an estimated population of 922, according to the 2010 census, is located about 60 miles northeast of Bangor on Route 6. Benedicta and Silver Ridge are more than 30 miles north of Lee, in southern Aroostook County.
The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle went into lockdown just before 8 a.m. Friday and security was increased after officials learned that a hospital employee had a connection to one of the victims and believed Lord might try to reach the employee, according to a statement from Jason Parent, director of advancement at the medical center.
The lockdown was lifted Friday afternoon.
Lord, who has a lengthy criminal history dating to 1999, when he was a teenager, was being held at Aroostook County Jail. He is expected to make an initial court appearance next week.
Though police hadn’t identified a motive for the crimes as of Friday, state police have been investigating the death of Lord’s 6-month-old, Larry Earl Lord, who died May 7 in Bangor, spokesman Stephen McCausland said. The state medical examiner hadn’t determined a cause of death and further studies are pending, a spokesman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office said.
Staff Writer Eric Russell contributed to this story.