HAMPDEN, Maine — Maine State Police have released the name of a woman who died early Friday in an apparent murder-suicide on Marina Road.
Katherine Hunt, 53, died in her home after she was shot by her 53-year-old boyfriend, (later identified as Lawrence Beaute) who had been living with her since he moved to Maine from Jacksonville, Fla., last July, Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Friday night.
The name of the alleged shooter was being withheld as police were still attempting to locate his relatives, McCausland said.
Hunt was a welder at General Electric in Bangor and the man was a medical technician at the Maine Veterans Home, also in Bangor, he said.
Detectives are calling Hunt’s death a domestic violence homicide, McCausland said. Hunt was in the process of breaking up with her boyfriend when he shot her and then used the gun to take his own life, he said.
According to detectives, Hunt left work early Friday morning to return home and likely was shot by the man a short time after she arrived at the house. The gunman called the Maine State Police dispatch center in Orono at 7 a.m. to say there had been a homicide at the house and he was intending to kill himself.
The two bodies were found on the kitchen floor by the state police tactical team when they entered the two-story house at noontime. The bodies later were taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta for examination.
Upon learning what police say happened, Julie Ratsakongsy, who lives next door to the scene of the slayings with her husband, Som, had strong words about the gunman.
“He’s a coward,” she said just minutes after the standoff ended and the couple were allowed to return home. “I don’t feel right coming home. It’s terrible.”
The murder-suicide caused a six-hour standoff that closed two miles of Main Road North and slowed business in the area, including at Rawcliffe’s Garage, which was used as a staging area by police who went to the scene.
“Police responded to the house after a 911 call was received about 7 a.m. saying there had been a homicide and the male caller said he planned to kill himself,” McCausland said in a press release. “Some neighborhood homes were evacuated and Route 1A was shut down as a precaution.”
Nearly two dozen vehicles — from local police, Maine State Police and Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office — went to the scene. Among them was an armored state police vehicle that had a battering ram.
The battering ram was used to gain access to the home at 10 Marina Road and left debris from the broken porch and front door, along with track marks, on the front lawn.
“The bodies were discovered by the State Police Tactical Team about noon when they entered [the house],” McCausland said in a news release issued Friday afternoon. “The bodies were found in the kitchen and both appear to have been shot.”
State police sent a crisis negotiation team and members of the Major Crimes Unit in addition to the tactical team.
“It’s the ninth homicide of the year and it’s not the first [involving] domestic violence,” McCausland said.
There were two vehicles parked in the driveway, a bright yellow Hummer that had no front plate and a 2008 Jeep Compass registered to Hunt.
“Florida is not a two-plate state,” Hampden police Sgt. Dan Stewart said while standing at the end of the driveway after the standoff.
Dr. Ed David, the state’s deputy chief medical examiner, was seen arriving on the scene about noon and could be seen through the front door taking photos of the inside of the house.
Hampden police arrived at the home within minutes of the initial 911 call.
A couple of minutes later, about 7:10 a.m., a Hampden officer knocked on Som and Julie Ratsakongsy’s door.
“He said they barricaded the house and there was a standoff,” Julie Ratsakongsy said. “They went down there with guns.”
At about the same time, John Foster arrived at his business, Foster Imaging, located across the street from the entrance to Marina Road.
A police officer parked at the end of the roadway “got into the back of his truck and loaded an AK-47. He pulled out that weapon, popped in the magazine and cocked it, and it was locked and loaded,” Foster said.
“She was a nice lady. I did a lot of faxing for her,” he said of Hunt.
Another neighbor who lives across the street said the man worked at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor.
“He’s a med tech and my girlfriend works with him,” said Robert Seeley, who lives on Main Road North. “She’s worked with him for a year and a half. He goes to Florida a lot. He’s from Florida.”
Seeley said he knew the man, and described him as “an awesome person.”
“It’s sad to see this happen,” he said.
A representative from the Maine Veterans’ Home declined Friday morning to verify whether the gunman was an employee.
Som Ratsakongsy said the man was more than 6 feet tall, spoke with an accent and moved in with his neighbor about a year ago.
He always waved at people as they drove down to Turtle Head Marina, several people said.
“She came and introduced herself when she moved in” about four years ago, Julie Ratsakongsy said. “Nowadays, people just don’t do that, it seems.”
Earlier this year, the neighbors said they heard the couple arguing and the man was screaming loud enough that they could hear it next door, but for the most part “they seemed happy,” Som Ratsakongsy said.
“She’s a sweet lady,” he said. “She was a real nice lady.”
BDN photographer Kevin Bennett and writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.