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‘Two Kids Had to Witness This’: Maine Gunman Fatally Shoots Couple in Front of Their Children, Police Say

maine gunman fatally shoots couple in front of their children
Source: Cumberland County Jail; Unsplash

Jun. 24 2023, Published 10:09 a.m. ET

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A man in Maine has been accused of fatally shooting a couple in their car while their two young children watched from the back seat, according to authorities.

Around 8:30 a.m. on June 19, officers responded to a call regarding a shooting in Westbrook after a caller reported seeing a man firing at a woman in a parking lot, according to Maine State Police.

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At the scene, police found 37-year-old Brittney Cockrell and 41-year-old Michael Hayter dead in a vehicle with their 11-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in the back seat, officials said. The children witnessed the shooting, but they were not injured.

Police said the suspect, 24-year-old Marcel LaGrange Jr., reportedly fled the scene and assaulted a bystander, later identified as 75-year-old Fred Roukey, during his pursuit. Roukey went to the hospital with minor injuries.

A bystander was able to tackle LaGrange and a group of bystanders took his gun away until police arrived, officials said.

Police detained LaGrange and he was booked into the Cumberland County Jail. He was charged with two counts of murder.

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According to the Medical Examiner’s Officer, Hayter and Cockrell died of gunshot wounds and their manner of death was homicide.

Officials said there is “no known connection between the victims and Marcel LaGrange Jr.”


Asad Khlaif was working at a nearby market when he heard children screaming as he saw the gunmen run from the scene with officers chasing him, WGME reported.

He realized the screams were coming from the back of the vehicle, so he took the children out of the car to shield them from seeing their parents’ bodies.

Khlaif told WGME the “big problem is the mom and the dad being killed in the shooting and the biggest problem is that the two kids had to witness this.”

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Officials said LaGrange has a criminal record dating back to 2018 with charges of terrorizing, assault, domestic violence and other crimes.

According to WGME, a woman met LaGrange a few days before the shooting took place. She said he showed up to her house and threatened to kill her, so she called Portland Police and pressed charges. She said she “quickly realized that he was a very dangerous person” and tried not to have any contact with him.


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