Maine officials are investigating an apparent case of domestic violence after a man fatally shot his wife, her son, and a neighbor in Skowhegan before he was killed by Somerset County deputies in his driveway early Wednesday morning.
The gunman was identified as Carroll Tuttle Jr., 51, who allegedly shot and killed his wife, Lori Hayden, 52, her son, Dustin Tuttle, 25, and Michael Spalding, 57.
Tuttle also shot a fourth person, Harvey Austin, 57, of Skowhegan, who is being treated for multiple gunshot wounds at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, authorities said.
“This is an extreme case of domestic violence,” said Steve McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “And our role now is to investigate exactly what happened, and what set this gunman off.”
Tuttle and his wife Hayden were not estranged, McCausland said.
“What we’re investigating now at this point is a domestic violence killing of both Ms. Hayden and of Dustin,” McCausland said. “The connection as to why the other two men were shot are questions we really don’t have an answer to at this point, but we are going to do our best to get those answers.”
Lori Hayden was the daughter of Skowhegan Selectwoman Darla Pickett, a former reporter for the Morning Sentinel in Maine.
She declined to comment when reached by the Globe on Wednesday night.
The Somerset County Sheriff’s office received a call at about 7:37 a.m. reporting the shootings on Russell Road in Skowhegan, just a few miles from Madison, a town of less than 5,000 people in central Maine.
The couple lived in a trailer on Russell Road, and there also was a camper where other family members were living on the property, a neighbor, Wayne Parlin, told the Associated Press.
McCausland said Tuttle shot Hayden and Dustin Tuttle at their home. Tuttle then left and went elsewhere. The exact details of his whereabouts are still under investigation.
“The specifics of where he was after that point is still being researched and investigated, but he did return to his home, the same home he shot his wife and son at,” McCausland said.
At some point, Tuttle went to Spalding’s home, located a short distance away on Russell Road, and shot him.
When he returned to his home, he was shot and killed by the Somerset County deputies. The state Attorney General’s office is reviewing the use of force by police, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.
The deputies involved in the shooting were identified as Chief Deputy James Ross, his son detective Michael Ross, and deputy Joseph Jackson. None of them were injured in the incident, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said.
“Though the (Maine) Attorney General’s office is investigating this case, as they do in every police shooting, I have total confidence in the performance of my deputies,” Lancaster said at the press conference.
Lancaster said the deputies shot Tuttle in the driveway of his residence.
Lancaster said the officers are on an administrative paid leave while the investigation is underway.
The investigation should provide some more details about unanswered questions, like the number of shots fired and the relationships between the parties involved, authorities said.
The relationship between Spalding and Tuttle remains unknown.
Austin, who was wounded along the side of the road, is married to a woman who is a relative of Hayden’s, Lancaster said.
State Police detectives are working with sheriff’s department deputies, and investigators from the attorney general’s office to determine details of the shootings.
The shooting is believed to be the deadliest in Maine since November 2015, when a 3-year-old girl was the only survivor of a rampage in the town of Oakland in which a gunman killed his girlfriend and the youngster’s parents before taking his own life.