September 16, 2019
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Eyewitness: Police killed gunman moments after he wounded Skowhegan man

MADISON, Maine — The Madison gunman who killed his wife, son and a neighbor on Wednesday morning was gunned down by police immediately after he wounded a Skowhegan man in front of his Russell Road home, an eyewitness said.

Donald Curtis Jr., 50, who lives next door to gunman Carroll Tuttle Jr., described seeing Harvey Austin, 57, fall to the ground after being shot by Tuttle: “When he got hit, I swear to God he was dead. He looked like a dead man.”

As of Thursday morning, Austin was being treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He is expected to survive, according to state police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Just seconds after Tuttle shot Austin, police returned fire, Curtis said.

“It sounded like a brick of firecrackers going off. I could say 20 to 30 shots fired. … My mind was blown,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Tuttle, 51, had shot and killed his wife, Lori Hayden, 52, and their 25-year-old son, Dustin Tuttle, at the couple’s Russell Road home before killing his neighbor Michael Spaulding, 57, at his home across the street, according to police.

Shortly after 7 a.m., Curtis said, he heard tires screeching and then police sirens coming from Spaulding’s driveway. He assumed there was a medical emergency because Spaulding had suffered a heart attack last year.

Curtis said he walked up the driveway to check on Spaulding, but a police officer told him to leave. As he headed toward Carroll’s house, Curtis said, he saw Austin get shot.

“I’m surprised he made it. It could’ve been worse. I really do think it could’ve been worse,” Curtis said.

Donald Cuidis Jr., another neighbor who went to school with Tuttle, told WGME he witnessed the violence.

“I had to crawl under my truck because I’ve seen one guy getting shot, it was crazy,” Cuidis said.

“I don’t know why he did what he did, I don’t. Mikey was too nice,” Cuidis said of Spaulding.

Tuttle was convicted of several misdemeanor crimes in Skowhegan District Court between 1987 and 2004, according to state records. In the most recent charge, he pleaded guilty in October 2004 to a Class D assault and was fined $300.

Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney declined Thursday to identify the victim in that case but said it was not one of the victims in Wednesday’s shooting spree.

The shootings are under investigation by Maine State Police. The State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta is expected to finish autopsies of the victims on Thursday, McCausland said.

McCausland identified the police who fired at Tuttle as Chief Deputy James Ross, his son Detective Michael Ross and Deputy Joseph Jackson of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. All three have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Maine Attorney General’s Office investigates the shooting.

Residents of the community of about 4,800 people were shocked by the violence.

“It’s scary to think about that actually happening right down the street,” said Kirby Pinkham, 40, who lives about 2½ miles down the road from the scene on Ward Hill Road. “It’s the talk of the town because you see it on TV or you see it in the movies but you don’t expect it in your own backyard.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

BDN writer Judy Harrison contributed to this report.

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