DAYTON, Maine — State police say a Saco man attempted to kill at least one woman before barricading himself inside a Dayton structure Tuesday.

Police arrested Donald Henson, 47, of Saco on charges of aggravated attempted murder at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday after a nearly four-hour standoff at 645 Goodwins Mills Road, where the primary home on the property was destroyed by a fire that took off during the violent incident.

State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said authorities were also investigating late Tuesday whether Henson was connected with a fire at 2 Maple St. in Saco in addition to house and vehicle fires at the Dayton property.

Henson fired shots from a separate structure on the Goodwins Mills Road property, as the house was engulfed in flames, according to Lt. Louis Nyitray, troop commander of Maine State Police’s Alfred barracks. It was difficult for police to see Henson’s exact location because of the smoke from the structure fire, he said.

“It did present some challenges because of the smoke,” said Maj. William King of the York County Sheriff’s Department. Law enforcement had to approach cautiously, he said.

State police, York County Sheriff’s Department and Saco law enforcement officers responded to a report of shots fired at the Goodwins Mills Road residence about 3:30 p.m.

Two women who are related to Henson were in the structure with him, but both managed to escape uninjured after shots were fired, said Nyitray. Police were questioning Henson on Tuesday night, trying to determine the details of what happened and what Henson’s motives were.

Kelly Roy, a resident of the Lyman neighborhood near the Goodwins Mills Fire Station, which law enforcement agencies were using as their command center during the incident, told the BDN she knew the suspect and his family, and that the two women who were in the structure were Henson’s wife and mother-in-law.

Police did not confirm the relationships Tuesday night.

“I am completely shocked because this is a quiet little town,” Roy said. “Horses at the neighbor’s house [were scared by the gunshots and] got loose.”

Police said Henson was not injured.

Other charges could be forthcoming, according to investigators.

“We are investigating three fire scenes related to this incident,” said Thomas.

Route 35 from the intersection of Route 5 in Dayton to John Road in the village of Goodwins Mills was closed to traffic during the incident.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.