YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) — Four people were fatally shot in a Maine home in a crime that was linked to gunfire that erupted later Tuesday on a busy interstate highway about 25 miles away, leaving three people injured and a person in custody, police said.
The bodies were found in a home in Bowdoin a short time before three people were shot in their vehicles to the south on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth, authorities said.
Maine State Police said the shootings were connected but didn’t immediately discuss a motive or identify the person in custody, police spokesperson Shannon Moss said.
The shootings on I-295 led to a heavy police presence in Yarmouth, including officers carrying rifles. At one point, heavily armed officers peered inside the trunk of a car that had apparent bullet holes in the windshield at off ramp. Witnesses told reporters they saw one person in handcuffs.
Yarmouth is a community of 9,000 about 12 miles north of Portland, the state’s largest city, which I-295 connects to the state capital, Augusta. Bowdoin is a rural farming community with about 3,000 residents.
“We are confident that there is no imminent threat to the general public at this time,” said Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry, whose deputies were assisting in Bowdoin. He referred questions to state police.
In Yarmouth, traffic backed up on the interstate as police halted traffic, and state, county and local police canvassed the area. Representatives for the Maine Department of Transportation said they closed the southbound side of I-295 in Yarmouth in late morning at the request of state police.
Police briefly ordered people in nearby neighborhoods to shelter in place, but authorities later announced there was no threat to the public.
Lenora Felker, who works near the highway at Rosemont Market and Bakery, said she sensed something was afoot when people started streaming in, saying the highway was closed, followed by dozens of law enforcement officers who descended on the area.
Officers canvassed businesses asking if they had seen “anyone that was wet and muddy fleeing,” Felker said. But she knew all the customers and didn’t see anything “out of the ordinary,” she said.
Sharp reported from Portland. Associated Press writers Michael Casey and Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.