3 people killed in Down East shootings

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Maine  State Police Lt. Troy Gardner, center, speaks with reporters outside the sheriff's office in Machias.
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Three people were fatally shot Monday morning in Machias and Jonesboro, and a 63-year-old man has been arrested, according to Maine State Police.
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Three people were fatally shot Monday morning in Machias and Jonesboro, and a 63-year-old Northfield man was arrested, according to Maine State Police.

A fourth person was shot and injured, state police Lt. Troy Gardner said.

The four shootings happened at three houses in neighboring towns, spread out over a distance of about 10 miles, and they all happened within about a half hour, according to police. Police had a suspect in custody at the end of the half-hour ordeal.

Courtesy of Washington County Jail
Courtesy of Washington County Jail
Thomas Bonfanti

Charged with murder in the shootings is Thomas Bonfanti. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Calais at 1 p.m., according to the state attorney general’s office.

Killed in the shootings were Shawn Currey, 57, of Machias, Samuel Powers, 33, of Jonesboro, and Jennifer Bryant Flynn, 49, of Machias.

Gardner said the first shooting occurred around 10:45 a.m. at 323 Kennebec Road in Machias. Responding police found the injured woman outside. Inside they also found Currey, who was dead.

Police received another call at 11:03 a.m. about a shooting at 69 Roque Bluffs Road in the neighboring town of Jonesboro. When officers arrived there, they found Powers dead.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Border patrol agents speak outside a home at 323 Kennebec Road in Machias.

A few minutes later, another call came in about a shooting at 666 Kennebec Road in Machias. Responding officers found Flynn had been shot and killed before they arrived.

At about 11:15 a.m., someone at the American Legion Hall at 42 Court St. in Machias, just down the street from the Washington County courthouse and sheriff’s office, called police to say Bonfanti was there. Officers arrived moments later and took Bonfanti, who at this point was unarmed, into custody without a struggle.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
The American Legion on Court Street in Machias where Thomas Bonfanti was taken into custody on Feb. 3.

Gardner said Bonfanti knew all the victims but declined to comment further. He did not say whether the victims knew each other. He said police have recovered a gun, but they have not tested it to confirm it was the firearm that Bonfanti is alleged to have used. He declined to say what kind of firearm it is.

Gardner did not identify the surviving victim, a woman, and did not comment on her injuries.

“All I can say is she is alive,” Gardner said.

Gardner said that Bonfanti did not appear to have been injured during any of the confrontations.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Maine  State Police Lt. Troy Gardner speaks with reporters outside the sheriff's office in Machias.

Gardner said that the Medical Examiner’s office is expected to conduct autopsies on Currey, Powers and Flynn on Tuesday.

He declined to say what may have led to the shootings, but he did say Monday was not the first time police had dealt with Bonfanti.

“I believe law enforcement has had contact with him before, but I cannot speak to his criminal history,” Gardner said.

Bonfanti’s criminal history in Maine lists an operating under the influence charge in November 2004. A Washington County jury found him guilty in April 2007, resulting in a 90-day license suspension and $600 fine, according to the Maine State Bureau of Identification.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Border Patrol agent C. Livermore walks near a house on Kennebec Road in Machias on Feb. 3.

Earlier Monday, Scott K. Porter, superintendent of Machias-area schools, put local schools into lockdown mode after the Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported shootings in the area. He lifted the security condition about an hour later.

As part of the lockdown, no students were allowed to leave school buildings.

Brooke Haynes, a server at the Hing Garden restaurant on Route 1 in Machias, said mid-morning Monday that she saw several police vehicles at the American Legion building, which is two doors down.

Machias Memorial High School had been under a “soft lockdown” on Friday, after an email threat mentioning U.S. Sen. Susan Collins listed the high school in Machias and several others in Maine.

BDN writer Nick Sambides Jr. contributed to this report.

 

Correction: Shawn Currey’s last name was spelled incorrectly and has been updated.

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