By Scott Butler, Florida Times-Union
A man who police said went on a rampage shooting and killing four people, including his parents, and wounding three others in Maine did prior prison time in Florida for a 2018 attack in Nassau County, according to court records.
Joseph Michael Eaton, 34, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers and one for possession of a firearm by a felon in the 2018 case. He was sentenced to three years and released on Feb. 15, 2021, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
It was unclear how long he had been in Nassau County or if he still has any ties there, but at some point he went back to Maine where he was born and has family.
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Tuesday authorities arrested Eaton within hours of discovering the bodies at a property in the small town of Bowdoin and after motorists were fired at on Interstate 295.
“This stuff doesn’t happen in Maine,” Maine State Police Col. Bill Ross said, according to USA TODAY. “Right now we’re in the ‘how’ phase, how this happened. And I think the ‘why’ part of this, why did all of this happen, will come at a later date.”
Eaton had been released from prison in Maine on April 14 after serving nearly two years for assault, according to public records.
Police said his parents, Cynthia and David Eaton, and their friends Robert and Patti Eger were shot at the Egers’ home and barn in Bowdoin. Then Eaton fled onto nearby I-295 where he began firing at passing cars, believing he was being chased by police, according to the USA TODAY report. Three people were struck. He then ditched his vehicle and was caught nearby.
Several media outlets reported that Eaton posted a video to Facebook the day before the shootings in which he began sobbing and complained about being molested and needing a second chance. He also speaks about his children and seeking forgiveness. The intro read ”Cynthia Robinson Eaton I’m scared to death about what people will say about this. It’s opened my story. Thanks for never giving up on me I love u.”
He said people “turn around and claim to be Christian, and you can’t forgive somebody or understand what they go through. … What good does it do to hate somebody? It destroys you. … You just need to try and forgive me for the things I did. I’ve been trying for a long time on things I don’t talk with people about.”
Ross declined to address the video, USA TODAY said.
What happened in Nassau County?
On Jan. 21, 2018, several Nassau deputies were dispatched to a call about a man armed with a gun having a mental breakdown. The arrest report said he had been tearing apart the residence, breaking things and “talking to God.” The caller, whose name and relationship were redacted, said he retrieved a rifle from her vehicle stating he was going to kill himself. But she was able to secure the weapon and got out of the home with her mother.
Read the full article here: What happened to Maine mass shooting suspect in Nassau County? Here’s what we know. (newsbreak.com)