Three dead, suspect arrested in Washington County shootings

MACHIAS — A Northfield man is in custody and three people are dead following shootings Monday morning in Washington County.

Thomas Bonfanti, 63, was arrested around 11:15 a.m. at the American Legion in Machias, said Lt. Troy Gardner of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit during a news conference Monday. “He has been charged with murder and is being held at the Washington County Jail.”

Dead are Shawn Currey, 57; Samuel Powers, 33; and Jennifer Bryant Flynn, 49.

A fourth person was shot, but survived. The victim was found shot outside a residence at 323 Kennebec Road in Machias. Gardner said he was unable to provide any additional information.

“All I can say and will say is she’s alive,” he said. He would not release her identity or condition, or say whether she was taken to the hospital by LifeFlight. “I’m just going to say she was taken to the hospital.”

The woman was the first person found by authorities, who responded to the residence following a 911 call at 10:47 a.m. Currey was found dead inside the home, Gardner said.

At 11:03 a.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received another 911 call. Authorities responded to 69 Roque Bluffs Road in Jonesboro, where they found Powers dead inside. The residence is about 5.4 miles away from the one on Kennebec Road.

A third 911 call came in at 11:20 a.m., sending authorities to 667 Kennebec Road in Machias, where they found Bryant Flynn dead inside. This residence is 2.7 miles away from the Roque Bluffs Road location.

A few minutes earlier, at 11:15 a.m., authorities were called to the American Legion on Court Street in Machias, approximately 5 miles from 667 Kennebec Road, where they encountered Bonfanti.

Gardner would not say whether Bonfanti was cooperative. He said police encountered him outside the Legion, though he is believed to have been inside before police arrived.

Authorities are still working to determine what prompted the rampage. Gardner said Bonfanti knew the victims but he did not know if they knew each other.

“At this point, we don’t have any information to suggest anyone else was involved or that there’s any other danger to the community,” he said.

Police are processing the scenes at the three residences and have secured Bonfanti’s residence and his vehicle, a maroon 2002 Ford Expedition found at the Legion. Officers have also recovered a gun though it has not been confirmed to be the murder weapon.

Gardner said autopsies would be performed on the victims over the next 24 hours and that more information would be released as soon as possible.

Machias Memorial High School and Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School, both in Machias, had been placed on lock down after the Washington County Sheriff’s Office called school officials Monday morning. Lock downs were lifted by 12:05 p.m., said Scott Porter, superintendent of Machias Bay Area Schools.

The Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police were assisted the Machias Police Department, the Maine Warden Service and the Maine Forestry Service.

Johanna S. Billings

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Johanna S. Billings covers eastern Hancock County and western Washington County. An avid photographer, she lives in Steuben with her husband and several cats. She welcomes tips and story ideas. Email her at [email protected]

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