A Maine man who killed four people in a home and then shot three others randomly on a busy highway had a criminal history that should have prevented him from legally possessing a gun, reports the Associated Press. The shootings began in the small town of Bowdoin, where four people were killed Tuesday. A chaotic scene developed in which shots were fired at vehicles on an interstate highway 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, state police spokesperson, 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. The names of the victims were not released, and state police didn’t discuss any possible motive. Ian Halsey, of Bowdoinham, said that two cousins were shot and that his uncle suffered shrapnel injuries in a single car. None of the family knew the shooter. “They were just passersby in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said of his family. “It’s horrible what happened.” Eaton was charged over the past decade with more than a half-dozen crimes and served an eight-month sentence last year for assault. Past convictions included aggravated assault, a felony that would prevent him from legally having a firearm. 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, a bank in Louisville, and a Sweet Sixteen party in a small city in Alabama.