Authorities remove a body from a house on the Augusta Road in Bowdoin on Tuesday, April 18, 2023. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Two connected shootings that unfolded on one of Maine’s deadliest days of gun violence left four people dead and three wounded, police said. 

Four people were shot and killed at a home in Bowdoin in an incident linked to a Tuesday shooting that injured three more just over an hour later on an Interstate 295 exit in Yarmouth, turning one of Maine’s busiest roads into a scene of chaos.

The highway shooting happened about 10:30 a.m. on exit 15 of the southbound side of I-295. One person was quickly detained in Yarmouth, and police said late Thursday that 34-year-old Joseph Eaton of Bowdoin was apprehended there and charged with murder in the Bowdoin killings.

Clockwise, from left: In a still frame from video provided by WGME-TV traffic is backed up near a scene where people were injured in a shooting on Interstate 295, in Yarmouth, Maine, Tuesday, April 18, 2023. Credit: WGME-TV via AP; A woman reacts at the scene of a multiple shooting, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Bowdoin, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP; Law enforcement officers search the undergrowth with a dog near the Yarmouth exit off southbound Interstate 295 on Tuesday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Keaten said they were linked to the highway shooting about 25 miles away, but police did not say how they were linked. The bodies of the Bowdoin victims were expected to be taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for autopsies.

The three Yarmouth victims were taken to a local hospital, police said. One is in critical condition, Keaten said. Live video showed bullet holes in the windshield of a car on an off ramp, but police have not said where the shots were fired from.

Sagadahoc County sheriff’s deputies and Maine State Police personnel surround a house at 1459 Augusta Rd. Bowdoin on Tuesday. Four people were killed in the house, authorities said. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Ian Halsey of Bowdoinham said members of his family were in that car, calling the shooting “totally random.” He said his female cousin was shot through the chest and is the one in critical condition. His male cousin was shot in the shoulder. His uncle was hit with shrapnel but mostly unharmed. A state police spokesperson declined to go into more specifics on the injuries.

Adam Woodson of Brunswick said he was northbound on I-295 coming back from Portland when he happened upon the frantic scene around 10:30 a.m. He saw police converge on the area around exit 15. By then, they had already handcuffed a man whom Woodson said appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s.

“There were cops everywhere, flying past us, flying behind me,” he said. “They were blocking off the turnaround and the highway with flares. When it first happened, it was super chaotic.”

About 10 state police vehicles, including an evidence van, were at the Bowdoin home on Tuesday afternoon. It is on 22 acres and set far back from the road with a stone facade, a butterfly flag and two Adirondack chairs on a porch. Three bodies were removed from the home and one was removed from the garage just before 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Tax records show the home is owned by Robert C. Eger Jr., 72. A nephew stopped by the scene and confirmed that Eger lived there with his wife. Patti Deraps Eger, 62, also is listed as living at the residence. A call to Robert Eger’s phone number was not returned. Moss could not confirm the names of the people who lived at the home.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said Tuesday that his agency handles law enforcement in Bowdoin, so his deputies were first on the scene after dispatch received a call about 9:20 a.m.. They turned it over to the state police after discovering the four bodies, he said.

After noon, there was a large and sustained police presence area between exit 15 north to East Main Street in Yarmouth to the north near exit 17 as they ruled out the possibility of a second suspect. Images from Yarmouth show police armed with long guns stationed on sidewalks as officers search for a second suspect. A gun was recovered, the town said in a Facebook post.

Both exits are dense with homes and businesses, many of which went into lockdown. Lenora Felker, who works near the highway at Rosemont Market and Bakery, told the Associated Press she sensed something was afoot when people started coming into the store followed by police who canvassed businesses asking if they had seen “anyone that was wet and muddy fleeing.”

On East Main Street, homeowner Richard Lippincott got a message from police to stay inside, and he was following news coverage with his wife on TV.

“They told us to stay locked down and be very careful what we are doing,” he said. “I’ve got an appointment at 2:42 this afternoon, so I’m not sure whether I’m going to be able to get over there or not.”

The southbound lanes of I-295 reopened about 4:45 p.m., Moss said late Tuesday afternoon. Exit 15 remained closed.

BDN writers Braeden Waddell, Christopher Burns, Leela Stockley, Paul Koenig and Judy Harrison contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the distance between the Bowdoin and Yarmouth shootings. It was roughly 25 miles.

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...