Investigators walk around the scene in Bowdoin where four bodies were found Tuesday morning. Authorities say the incident is related to a shooting that took place later on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A Bowdoin man has been charged with murder after four people were found shot to death in a Bowdoin home Tuesday morning and three more people were shot on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth shortly afterward.

State police say Joseph Eaton, 34, was booked into Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset Tuesday night and will make his initial appearance in court this week.

Joseph Eaton

Joseph Eaton Facebook photo

The shootings are connected, Maine State Police Lt. Randall Keaten said at a news conference in Yarmouth on Tuesday afternoon.

One victim shot on the interstate was in critical condition Tuesday.

“We’re working many different scenes,” Keaten said. “We’re just getting our arms around it.”

State police, aided by several local departments, are leading investigations at three crime scenes: the Bowdoin house and two sites on the interstate between exits 17 and 15.


Investigators were expected to continue processing the scenes throughout the night Tuesday and release more information Wednesday afternoon.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said the department was notified of a shooting inside the home at 1459 Augusta Road, which also is known as Route 201, around 9:20 a.m. A relative of the victims discovered the four bodies and notified another relative, who then notified authorities.

The state medical examiner in Augusta will perform autopsies to determine the manner and cause of death.

Shortly after police discovered the bodies in Bowdoin, three people were wounded when several cars were shot at on I-295 south near mile marker 17 and Exit 15 in Yarmouth, police said.

All three were taken to Maine Medical Center.



Eaton is currently the lone suspect in both the Bowdoin and Yarmouth shootings, police said. Officials have not identified any of the victims.

Ian Halsey of Bowdoinham said two of the Yarmouth victims, both adults, were his cousins, but he declined to identify them.

“My cousin is in critical condition and my other cousin is stable. There is no connection between the victims. It was random that my family was shot at,” Halsey said.

Police at the scene of the shooting in Yarmouth. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Police initially searched for a possible second suspect “out of an abundance of caution,” a spokesperson for the Maine State Police said before officers determined there was no longer a threat to the public.

Police recovered a gun that was initially missing from the interstate crime scene, according to an update from the Town of Yarmouth.

A car stopped on the exit ramp Tuesday afternoon had several bullet holes in its front windshield.


About 25 miles away in Bowdoin, TV crews were positioned Tuesday evening at the end of a long, sloping gravel driveway leading to the home at 1459 Augusta Road, which is set back about 200 feet from the heavily traveled roadway.

Nearly a dozen SUVs – most appeared to be unmarked police cars – were parked in the driveway and the house was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape.

Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the state police, said the department would not release the names of the dead until the medical examiner confirms their identities and police can notify their next of kin.

Stephen and Donna McIntyre, who live on Augusta Road, said they didn’t see or hear anything unusual Tuesday but were unnerved by the shooting.

Stephen and Donna McIntyre live next door to a home on Augusta Road where police are investigating multiple shooting deaths. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer


“It’s very scary,” Donna McIntyre, 63, said. “You don’t expect this to happen and I certainly wouldn’t expect anything to happen over there because they’re friends of ours.”


The couple declined to name their neighbors but described them as “lovely people.”

Robert Eger is listed as the property owner on local tax records. A recorded message at the family’s home phone Tuesday referred to the household as “Bob Eger and family” and ended with the words, “Make it a great day.”

Judy Leach, who lives nearby, said she rushed home from work to check on her 86-year-old mother when she got an alert on her iPad about the shooting.

“I called my boss and said, ‘I’m going to head out. I think that’s next door to my house,’” said Leach, 63.

She was able to reach her mother by phone before she got home, but the news was frightening. “It’s just the idea of not knowing (what happened) and wanting to see if anything else was going on,” she said.

The scene drew onlookers to Augusta Road Tuesday. Scott Houston, who said he rents the land his trailer is on in Richmond from Bob and Patti Eger, said he came to see what was going on and was worried about them.


“They’re very pleasant, very nice people,” Houston said.

The interstate in Yarmouth reopened shortly after 4:30 p.m., with the exception of southbound Exit 15. The police presence was heavy in the area for several hours earlier in the day, shutting down traffic while officers from several departments searched for the possible second suspect.

The killings come on the heels of a series of mass shootings around the country, including at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, and at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, that have left communities nationwide on edge.


Lisa Erickson said she heard gunshots near her home on East Main Street in Yarmouth Tuesday morning. Within a few minutes, she said several police officers arrived in the area and yelled for Erickson and her neighbors to stay in their homes.

At 1 p.m., state troopers, along with officers from Freeport, Portland and Yarmouth, continued to comb the neighborhood, including the ravine between Erickson’s backyard and I-295, she said.


“This is crazy,” Erickson said. “This is Yarmouth, Maine.

Several photos of armed officers patrolling the town circulated on social media.

A law enforcement officer walks with an assault rifle on the corner of Portland and Main streets in Yarmouth on Tuesday. Four people were found shot to death in a Bowdoin home Tuesday morning shortly before a shooting wounded three people and shut down southbound traffic on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth. Photo by Mike Leonard 

Lenora Felker, who works near the highway at Rosemont Market and Bakery, told the Associated Press that officers canvassed businesses asking if they had seen “anyone that was wet and muddy fleeing.”

But she knew all the customers and didn’t see anything “out of the ordinary,” she said.

Gov. Janet Mills said on Twitter that she was “shocked and deeply saddened,” by the shootings.

“My thoughts are with the families, friends and loved ones of those impacted by this tragedy, and I am praying for the quick recovery of those who are hospitalized,” she wrote.



State police ask anyone who was involved or witnessed the shootings to call the Augusta Regional Communications Center at 624-7076, option number 9.

Tuesday’s shootings are among the most deadly in Maine’s history. In 2014, Joel Smith shot and killed his wife, Heather, and their three children, Jason Montez, 12, Noah Montez, 7, and Lily Smith, 4, with a 12-gauge shotgun and then turned it on himself.

Lt. Randall Keaten speaks to media at the scene of heavy police presence in Yarmouth on Tuesday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A state police spokesperson at the time said it was the sixth time since 1941 that four people had been killed in a multiple homicide in Maine.

Press Herald Staff Writer Dennis Hoey and Sun Journal Staff Writer Steve Collins contributed to this report.

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