GARDINER — A man fatally shot a woman and then killed himself Tuesday in what authorities called a domestic violence murder-suicide that has been linked to a house fire earlier in the day in Sidney.

Police went to 16 Fairview St. in Gardiner at 11:21 a.m. Tuesday and found two people who had been shot. A man was found dead in a pickup truck in the driveway, while a woman, found alive in the garage, died after being taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta with two gunshot wounds to the head.

Late Tuesday night, state police identified the man as Kenneth Bryant, 48, and the woman as Autumn Bryant, 44. Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said in a news release that the Bryants lived together in Livermore Falls until she separated from her husband in November and moved into her brother’s home in Gardiner. The two bodies were found at that home.

McCausland said earlier in the day that the homeowner had called police about the shootings.

McCausland said during a short news conference at the scene that police believe Kenneth Bryant “killed her and turned the gun on himself.” He said divorce proceedings were underway at the time.

On Tuesday morning, fire destroyed a house on Poppy Lane in Sidney. The house, on Messalonskee Lake, is owned by Lawrence Gilman, the husband of Autumn Bryant’s mother, McCausland said in the news release. The house was unoccupied because the Gilmans live in Florida in the winter, he said, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Firefighters battle a blaze Tuesday at a lakefront home at 74 Poppy Lane in Sidney. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Crews from the Sidney, Belgrade, Oakland, Fairfield, Winslow and Augusta fire departments went to the scene. By late morning, much of the house appeared to be destroyed, with just a chimney standing amid fire and smoke.

McCausland said investigators are working at the Gardiner property and with state fire marshal’s investigators in Sidney to determine the cause and timetable of events.

Autopsies on the two bodies will be done Wednesday at the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

Comments are disabled on some stories about sensitive topics.