Joseph Eaton, 34, has not yet been charged with the Tuesday morning shootings on I-295 in Yarmouth.
Members of law enforcement investigate a scene where people were injured in a shooting on Interstate 295, in Yarmouth on Tuesday. Credit: Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald via AP

A Bowdoin man killed four people in a home and then shot three others randomly on a busy highway, the Maine State Police said, the latest in a string of mass shootings across the country that have shaken communities large and small.

The shootings in Maine began in the small town of Bowdoin, where four people were killed Tuesday. Then a chaotic scene developed in which shots were fired at vehicles on an interstate highway more than 20 miles away in the community of Yarmouth, police said. Three people were shot there, and one remained in critical condition Wednesday.

“This is an active investigation with a lot of moving parts,” Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday.

The gunman, identified as Joseph Eaton, 34, of Bowdoin, was charged with four counts of murder but was not immediately charged in the highway shootings, she said. He was jailed while awaiting a court appearance.

The names of the victims were not released, and state police didn’t discuss any possible motive. The four bodies were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for positive identification and autopsies.

The seven people shot Tuesday were the latest victims of mass shootings in the U.S., whose targets included a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee; a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Sweet Sixteen party in a small city in Alabama.

In Bowdoin, yellow crime tape hung where the shootings took place in a home flanked by woods at the end of a long, gravel driveway. Detectives and evidence technicians remained in the home collecting evidence late Tuesday, long after hearses left the driveway.

At one point, a woman spoke to police outside the house, then dropped to her knees and sobbed.

In Yarmouth on Wednesday, traffic flowed normally on Interstate 295, where a day before the three people were shot in cars and the gunman was apprehended.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills tweeted her concern for the “families, friends and loved ones of those impacted by this tragedy.” She said she was praying for the injured.

“Like people across Maine, I am shocked and deeply saddened. Acts of violence like we experienced today shake our state and our communities to the core,” she said.

Story by Patrick Whittle and David Sharp.