© 2024 Maine Public
1450 Lisbon St.
Lewiston, ME 04240

Maine Public Membership Department
63 Texas Ave.
Bangor, ME 04401

Portland Office
323 Marginal Way
Portland, ME 04101

Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Scroll down to see all available streams.

Police say suspect in southern Maine shootings confessed to killing parents, family friends

Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck leads a news conference, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Augusta, Maine, about shootings in the state. A Maine man who police say killed four people in a home and then shot three others randomly on a busy highway had been released days earlier from prison, a state official said Wednesday.
Patrick Whittle
/
AP
Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck leads a news conference, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Augusta, Maine, about shootings in the state. A Maine man who police say killed four people in a home and then shot three others randomly on a busy highway had been released days earlier from prison, a state official said Wednesday.

The victims of Tuesday’s Bowdoin shootings have been identified as the suspect’s parents and two family friends. And officials say the suspect confessed to the killings.

Thirty-four-year-old Joseph Eaton was released from state prison last Friday. He was picked up by his mother, Cynthia, and driven to the house of family friends in Bowdoin. On Tuesday, 62-year-old Cynthia, 66-year-old Dave Eaton and homeowners 72-year-old Bob Eger and 62-year-old Patricia Eger were all found dead at the home.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Col. William Ross of the Maine State Police said a concerned friend of the Eatons discovered the bodies around 9:20 a.m. Tuesday. Police arrived and found three bodies in the home and another in a detached garage.

But by the time state police arrived on the scene, another situation was developing in Yarmouth.

"It's about 10:30 in the morning, police departments from Yarmouth, Falmouth and Cumberland are responding to Interstate 295 to assist state troopers that are assigned to Troop I with multiple vehicles and people being shot by gunfire," Ross said.

Three people were struck by gunfire, including 51-year-old Sean Halsey, 29-year-old Justin Halsey and 25-year-old Paige Halsey. Paige is still in critical condition, police say.

Ross said Eaton later confessed to the killings in Bowdoin, and said that he shot at the cars because he believed he was being followed by police. He was found in a wooded area not far from his vehicle near Exit 15 on I-295. He was taken to Maine Medical Center and later brought to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

Maine State Police Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said there are some details police cannot disclose yet. He told reporters he hopes the investigation helps people make sense of the crime.

"You want to naturally say, 'Well, it can't be happening here in Maine, it happens everywhere else. It doesn't happen here.' But the reality is that the senseless acts can and do happen anywhere at any time," he said.

Eaton has a long and complicated criminal history, including felonies that should have prevented him from accessing a gun. He is expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Reporter Caitlin Andrews came to Maine Public in 2023 after nearly eight years in print journalism. She hails from New Hampshire originally.