The young couple gunned down Monday night in Westbrook had recently relocated to Maine from Texas with their two young children.
Michael Hayter, 41, and Brittney (McKinney) Cockrell, 37, were shot to death in front of their 7- and 11-year-old children by Marcel LaGrange, Jr., according to the Maine State Police (MSP), in what appears to be a random act of violence.
Law enforcement has not said whether the case is being investigated as a hate crime.
LaGrange, 24, had previously told corrections officers at the Long Creek Youth Correctional Center in 2018 that he wanted wanted to go on a shooting spree and kill innocent people, according to a report from the Portland newspaper.
The Maine Wire reported Tuesday that LaGrange had a lengthy criminal record that includes assault, terrorizing, assaulting police officers, and arson — crimes which earned him brief stints in correctional facilities over the past four years. LaGrange had also previously been involved with a non-profit that helps incarcerated youth rehabilitate through the arts.
Fox23 WGME has reported based on police sources that the entire shooting was caught by surveillance camera. The outlet has also reported that an anonymous woman, shortly before the shooting, had alerted the Portland Police Department to threats LaGrange had made against her.
“In those four days, I quickly realized that he was a very dangerous person,” the woman said, according to WGME. “So I asked to not have contact with him, which is what made him just, he went insane.”
In text messages to the woman, LaGrange reportedly threatened to make other people “pay” for her rebuffed advances.
Social media accounts that appear to belong to LaGrange are covered with images of LaGrange smoking what appears to be marijuana and brandishing firearms.
Depending on when that firearm was acquired, LaGrange would have been prohibited under Maine law from legally purchasing a firearm.
State police investigators have yet to say how LaGrange obtained the firearm.