Mass violence has become a common feature in the 24-hour newscycle. But rarely has large-scale violence touched Maine.
Maine’s crime rate has fallen steadily for the past decade. While violent crime has risen in parts of the state, particularly Washington County where it’s been connected to the drug trade, it rarely explodes as publicly as it did Tuesday morning.
Four people were killed and three people wounded — one of whom was in critical condition — Tuesday morning. Shooting erupted on Interstate 295 about 10:30 a.m., and soon police linked that to the shooting deaths discovered little more than an hour earlier in the small Sagadahoc County town of Bowdoin.
Joseph Eaton, 34, of Bowdoin has been charged with murder in the shooting deaths of the four people discovered at the Bowdoin residence on Tuesday.
It appears to be one of the deadliest days for shootings in Maine going back at least to the late 1980s, according to the Bangor Daily News archives.
On Feb. 3, 2020, Thomas Bonfanti of Northfield shot and killed three people, 57-year-old Shawn Currey of Machias, 33-year-old Samuel Powers of Jonesboro and 49-year-old Jennifer Bryant Flynn of Machias, and wounded a fourth, Regina Hall Long, during a Washington County spree.
On July 5, 2017, Carroll Tuttle Jr., 51, shot to death his 52-year-old wife Lori Hayden, his 25-year-old son Dustin Tuttle and his 57-year-old neighbor Michael Spaulding in Madison. He also wounded another man, 57-year-old Harvey Austin of Skowhegan, before police killed Tuttle, bringing his rampage to an end.
That was the deadliest shooting in Maine since Nov. 4, 2015, when 42-year-old Herman DeRico killed his girlfriend, 28-year-old Amy Derosby, her sister Amanda Bragg, 30, and Bragg’s boyfriend, 28-year-old Michael Muzerolle. DeRico was found dead by his own hand in the driveway of his Belgrade Road home in Oakland, where his victims also were found. His victims had called 911 for help six times over 18 minutes.
Earlier that year, Anthony Lord, then 35 years old, carried out a rampage across Penobscot and Aroostook counties that left two people dead, 58-year-old Kevin Tozier of Lee and 22-year-old Kyle Hewitt of Caribou, and three others wounded, Kim Irish and Carlton Eddy of Benedicta and Clayton McCarthy of Mattawamkeag. He was later found guilty.
On July 26, 2014, 33-year-old Joel Smith shot and killed his 33-year-old wife Heather and their three children, 12-year-old Jason Montez, 7-year-old Noah Montez and 4-year-old Lily Smith before he killed himself. It was an act of domestic violence that stunned the Saco community where they lived.
On Oct. 23, 2012, Leon R. Tilden, 27, shot to death his father Robert Tilden and uncle Russell Pinkham at his parent’s home in Lamoine. The younger Tilden was shot to death during a confrontation with police.
That was the second multiple shooting to rock the Hancock County town in 2012. On March 12, 2012, Michael Carter, 30, shot and killed 32-year-old Lawrence Sinclair of Ellsworth and wounded Torrey Garland and Joshua McKinney, both of Ellsworth, at a residence off Route 184. Carter later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
On Aug. 13, 2012, police in Bangor found three charred bodies inside a burned car at Target Industrial Circle, located off Outer Hammond Street. Inside were Nicolle Lugdon, Daniel Borders and Lucas Tuscano who had been shot to death in a drug deal gone bad. Randall Daluz of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Nicholas Sexton, 34, of Warwick, Rhode Island, were convicted of their murders.
On June 13, 2011, Steven Lake, 37, shot to death his 38-year-old wife Amy Lake and their children, 13-year-old Coty and 12-year-old Monica, inside a Shore Road home in Dexter. He then killed himself. He was awaiting a July 5 court date, when he was to face charges for threatening his family with a handgun on June 14, 2010.
On March 19, 1988, 32-year-old Earl Losier Jr. of Bangor went on a rampage in the Queen City that left dead his 26-year-old brother Stephen, 26-year-old Peter Prendergast of Brewer, 31-year-old Michael Prendergast of Bangor and his brother Stephen’s 23-year-old girlfriend Sharon Prendergast of Bangor, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.
After shooting the four, Losier, who had no criminal record, sat on a couch and waited for police to arrive. What prompted the killings: a loud stereo blaring upstairs at the Allen Court building where he lived.
That act of violence was described at the time as “one of the worst multiple slayings in Maine history.”