The 51-year-old was a regular at the Cairns Central Shopping Centre, where he was allegedly killed by a 38-year-old man armed with a knife on Wednesday morning.
Detective Acting Inspector Kev Goan said Eaton had been going about his business when the unprovoked attack occurred.
“There had been that engagement, that engagement doesn’t appear to have been responded to by the victim, it was simply ranting by the offender,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“And then, unbeknownst to the victim, he’s assaulted from behind.”
Eaton died about 51 minutes after the attack on the ground floor of the centre.
Nicholas George Boak has been charged with murder and appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The matter was adjourned until December 15.
Det Insp Goan said Eaton had been unable to work due a medical condition and had became a daily fixture at the centre.
The 51-year-old was well known, he said, and liked by proprietors and customers.
“As I say, the experience that he has had with many within the shopping centre, there’s been nothing adverse that has been brought to our attention, quite the opposite,” Det Insp Goan said.
“He was considered to be quite a pleasant man and his engagements with others were quite happy engagements, not something that would work this type of actions towards him.”
The murder of Mr Eaton, who has five adult children, has been particular hard on his elderly mother, he said.
Condolences from centre workers and proprietors have been flowing to his family.
“This is obviously a very difficult time for them,” Goan said.
“I do ask that their privacy is respected.”
He also thanked centre security for cordoning off the area to ensure more people did not witness the bloody crime scene.
Goan said security also ensured police were able to swiftly arrest the accused.
Detectives have CCTV footage of the attack and the lead up, but they want to speak with anyone who spoke to either of the two men beforehand.
Goan said the Cairns community was in shock about the circumstances of Eaton’s death.
“He’s a Cairns man, known to many… and of course his untimely death is mourned by many,” he said.Jump to next article