Sagadahoc sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Aaron Schofield hangs "no trespassing" signs and a steel cable across the driveway at a home on the Augusta Road in Bowdoin on Wednesday, where four people were found dead on Tuesday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Shock. Horror. Anguish. There was no shortage of strong emotions Tuesday as the news of shootings on Interstate 295 and killings in Bowdoin unfolded.

Late Tuesday morning, there were reports of shots being fired at motorists on I-295. A portion of the highway was shut down. Photographs showed a car with holes in its windshield on an exit ramp in Yarmouth.

Three people were injured, one of them critically. They were people just going about their day, caught in a hail of gunfire, which has become an all-too-common storyline in America.

The details of the situation soon became unimaginably worse.

Police said they had found four bodies in a home in Bowdoin, a small community in Sagadahoc County. A man with a lengthy and violent criminal history — who was, by law, not supposed to have access to firearms — was the alleged killer and highway shooter. Joseph Eaton, who was apprehended near the interstate in Yarmouth, has been charged with murder for the deaths in Bowdoin. He had been released from prison Friday.

This is the type of violence that isn’t supposed to happen in Maine, which is annually ranked among the most safe states in the country. But, as we’ve learned in recent years, we can’t be lulled into thinking that any place is safe from firearms-related deaths, which are on the rise in the United States.

The killings in Bowdoin are among the most deadly shootings in Maine in recent years; a Saco man shot and killed his wife and three children in 2014. It joins a long and heartbreaking list of killings, often involving domestic violence.

There are many details we don’t yet know about Tuesday’s events, and there will be plenty of time later to debate policies and standards for things like mental health and substance use treatment, sentencing, incarceration and gun access.

For now, we mourn those whose lives were cut short and we wish for full and speedy recoveries for those who were 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,” Gov. Janet Mills tweeted Tuesday evening.

“My thoughts are with the families, friends and loved ones of those impacted by this tragedy, and I am praying for the quick recovery of those who are hospitalized,” she added. “There is still much to learn, but I am grateful to the quick response of state, county, and local law enforcement to protect Maine people.”

These horrifying events are a terrible reminder that gun violence is not a distant problem, that it is an all-too-present reality even in Maine. Even as we await more details about this case, we must not become numb to the seemingly constant barrage of gun violence across the country, and its devastating impact on our communities.

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...