911 transcripts point to chaos, fast-evolving situation in April shootings in Maine

Jun 2, 2023, 3:34 PM

FILE - Investigators work at the scene of a shooting where four people were killed on April 18, 202...

FILE - Investigators work at the scene of a shooting where four people were killed on April 18, 2023, in Bowdoin, Maine. State police have released heavily redacted transcripts of 911 calls from the day of the shootings. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A frantic 911 call to report at least one person had been fatally shot led law enforcement to discover four bodies at a home in Maine and eventually to arrest a man who fired at vehicles on a nearby highway before confessing to police that he was behind the killings.

According to heavily redacted transcripts from 30 emergency calls that the Maine Department of Public Safety provided to The Associated Press on Friday, the first sign of trouble on April 18 came with a call at 9:18 a.m. The dispatcher tells the caller to not go back inside the property in rural Bowdoin, but to return to his vehicle and wait for police to arrive. Dispatch asks about a bullet hole in a vehicle and how many people live at the house.

“And who do you think is the deceased?” the dispatch asks the caller. The caller’s response is redacted.

Authorities identified those killed as the parents of the shooting suspect, Cynthia Eaton, 62, and 66-year-old David Eaton; along with their longtime friends, Robert Eger, 72, and 62-year-old Patti Eger.

The agency removed many details from the calls as well as the identities of the callers, but the volume of calls points to chaos and the time stamps indicate a quickly evolving situation. Shannon Moss, state police spokesperson, said the redactions were necessary because the investigation is ongoing.

A little more than an hour after that first call, a flood of 911 calls in rapid succession indicated a gunman was firing wildly at vehicles about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away on I-295 in Yarmouth. State police quickly connected the dots between the two crime scenes, even as calls were made to police dispatchers in Augusta, Brunswick, Houlton, Westbrook and Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties.

The I-295 shootings left three people injured.

After his arrest in Yarmouth, 34-year-old Joseph Eaton confessed to the killings in Bowdoin as well as the highway gunfire, police said. He had been released from prison just days earlier after completing a sentence for aggravated assault.

Eaton has been charged with four counts of murder but has not yet been charged in the highway shootings.


Follow David Sharp on Twitter @David_Sharp_AP

National News

Associated Press

Heat has forced organizers to cancel Twin Cities races that draw up to 20,000 runners

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A forecast that record high temperatures and humidity would create “extreme and dangerous” conditions prompted organizers to cancel two long-distance races Sunday in Minnesota’s two largest cities that were expected to draw up to 20,000 runners. The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon from Minneapolis to neighboring St. Paul had been expected to draw […]

21 minutes ago

File - The Southern University Human Jukebox marching band warms up before the 2023 National Battle...

Associated Press

Federal student loan payments are starting again. Here’s what you need to know

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal student loan borrowers will need to start making payments again this month after a three-year-plus pause due to the pandemic. You should expect a bill that lays out how much you have to pay each month at least 21 days before your due date. It’s likely that most borrowers have […]

45 minutes ago

FILE - Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., appears before the House Rules Committee to propose amendments to t...

Associated Press

Gaetz says he will seek to oust McCarthy as speaker this week and calls for new House leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Matt Gaetz said Sunday he will try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, from his leadership position this week after McCarthy relied on Democratic support to pass legislation that avoided a government shutdown. Gaetz, a longtime McCarthy nemesis, said McCarthy was in “brazen, material breach” of agreements he […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Chester County, Pa. election workers process mail-in and absentee ballots at West Chester Un...

Associated Press

Pennsylvania governor’s voter registration change draws Trump’s ire in echo of 2020 election clashes

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Donald Trump has a familiar target in his sights: Pennsylvania’s voting rules. He never stopped attacking court decisions on mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, falsely claiming it as a reason for his 2020 loss in the crucial battleground state. Now, the former Republican president is seizing on a decision by […]

3 hours ago

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023, in Washington. The new term of the ...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court’s new term starts Monday. Here’s what you need to know

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems a bit quieter than in recent years, as the justices begin a new term. Major cases await, as they always do, including several challenges to regulatory agencies and efforts to regulate social media platforms. But nothing yet seems on par with conservative-driven decisions overturning Roe v. Wade’s right […]

3 hours ago

Run by a private firm hired by the city, migrants stay in a makeshift shelter at O'Hare Internation...

Associated Press

Chicago is keeping hundreds of migrants at airports while waiting on shelters and tents

CHICAGO (AP) — Hidden behind a heavy black curtain in one of the nation’s busiest airports is Chicago’s unsettling response to a growing population of asylum-seekers arriving by plane. Hundreds of migrants, from babies to the elderly, live inside a shuttle bus center at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 1. They sleep on cardboard pads on […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

911 transcripts point to chaos, fast-evolving situation in April shootings in Maine