A Maine man who had been out of prison for less than a week has been charged with the murders of his parents and two of their friends on Tuesday.
Joseph Eaton, 34, is also suspected of shooting three people in random gunfire on Interstate 295 after the murders in Bowdoin, state police said, although he was not immediately charged in the highway shootings.
One of those people remained in critical condition on Wednesday, WCMH reported.
Anna Black, director of governmental affairs for the Maine Department of Corrections, said that Eaton was released last Friday from the correctional center in Windham, where he’d been held after being sentenced on. probation violation in March 2021.
Eaton’s criminal history should have prevented him from legally possessing a gun in Maine, the television station reported.
“This is an active investigation with a lot of moving parts,” Shannon Moss, state police spokesperson, said Wednesday.
Moss said investigators were aware of a video believed to have been posted to Facebook on Monday by Eaton in which he criticized “Christian” people who don’t give others a second chance.
What good does it do to hate somebody?” the tearful man said. “You know, it destroys you.”
Moss said the video is part of the investigation.
Police responded to a home in Bowdoin Tuesday morning and found 62-year-old Cynthia Eaton, 66-year-old David Eaton, and their friends, 72-year-old Robert Eger and 62-year-old Patricia Eger, dead from gunshot wounds. About an hour later, reports came in from Yarmouth, about 20 miles south, of gunfire on the interstate, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Police said that Eaton began firing at cars on the highway, believing police were following him, WCMH reported.
Sean Halsey, 51, and his two children, 29-year-old Justin Halsey and 25-year-old Paige Halsey, were hospitalized after the Yarmouth shootings. Ian Halsey told WCMH the victims were his uncle and two cousins. One of the cousins is in critical condition, and the uncle was hit by shrapnel. None of his family knows Eaton, he said.
“They were just passersby in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “It’s horrible what happened.”
WCMH said records show Eaton has been charged with more than a half dozen crimes over the last decade, including assault and aggravated assault. He has served time, the station said, in Kansas, Florida, and Maine.
The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office released a statement Wednesday afternoon about the incident:
[Featured image: Joseph Eaton/handout]