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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Gustaf Kilander

Joseph Eaton’s grandmother reacts to horror Maine shooting spree as motive remains a mystery

Maine Police

The grandmother of Maine shooting suspect Joseph Eaton has reacted to his arrest after he allegedly confessed to killing four people, including his own parents.

Betty Fagan lost her daughter Cynthia Eaton in the shooting, who was the mother of the suspect. Police have not yet commented on a motive for the killings, after which Mr Eaton allegedly opened fire on an interstate.

Ms Eaton had picked up her son from prison on 14 April when he was released after serving a term for aggravated assault.

Ms Eaton and her husband David Eaton, the father of the suspect, were found shot dead at a home in Bowdoin on Tuesday morning along with their friends Robert and Patricia Eger.

Ms Fagan said the suspect’s parents had returned to Maine but that they were planning to move to Kansas, where they had previously lived.

“I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe he would do something like that,” she told the AP.

The suspect left the Maine Correctional Center in Windham on Friday when he was picked up by his mother, according to the state authorities.

The shooting took place at the home of the Egers. Three of the bodies were found inside the home, while Mr Eaton’s father was found at the property in a “non-attached garage,” according to the authorities.

The killings have been connected to the highway shooting in which three people were injured on Tuesday about 20 miles away in Yarmouth.

Col Bill Ross of Maine State Police identified the three people shot on the highway as 51-year-old Shawn Halsey, 29-year-old Justin Halsey, and 25-year-old Paige Halsey.

Speaking about the deceased, Col Ross said that “the office of the chief medical examiner determined that all died of gunshot wounds and were determined to be homicides”.

Mr Eaton began shooting on the highway because he thought he was being hunted by the police, Col Ross added. The suspect had spent the last two years in jail, the colonel said.

“Mr Eaton was taken by Major Crimes detectives and Portland police officers to the Portland Police Department where he gave a confession and admitted to killing his parents and his parents’ friends – he admitted to killing his parents David and Cynthia and their friends Robert and Patricia in the residence at 1459 Augusta Road,” he said.

“He had also admitted that he shot vehicles on Interstate 295 because he thought he [was] being followed by police officers,” Col Ross said.

He added that “a few days ago, he was released from Windham Correctional Center, where he was serving about two years for aggravated assault”.

The authorities didn’t specify when the killings took place – a friend of the Egers discovered the bodies after making several attempts to contact the couple and eventually went over to check in on them.

While Mr Eaton has been charged with four counts of murder, he has yet to be charged in connection with the highway shooting.

He appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday morning.

State records reveal that Mr Eaton has a criminal history which meant that he couldn’t legally own a firearm.

Mr Eaton’s criminal past stems back to 2008 in Kansas when he was charged with burglary. He was sentenced in 2009 and released in 2010.

He was sentenced to three years behind bars in May 2018 after being charged with three counts of aggravated assault of a first responder in Nassau County, Florida.

Within a month of being released on 15 February 2021, he was sentenced on 1 March for an assault in Maine.

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