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On Wednesday night the city of Lewiston, Maine, was shaken after a gunman opened fire in a bowling alley and a bar. Police scrambled to find the shooter, urging residents and local businesses to lock down immediately.
Law enforcement officials in Maine later revealed that they were searching for Robert Card, a 40-year-old Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserve, as a suspect in the shootings that resulted in 18 fatalities and 13 injuries.
It was announced on Friday night that his remains were discovered in the nearby woods of Lisbon, near the recycling facility where he was previously employed.
This is the information we have gathered about the suspected shooter thus far:
Who is the person known as Robert Card?
Once Robert Card was identified as the “person of interest”, the sheriff’s office released photos of him to the public for identification. In the images, he can be seen wearing brown clothing and holding a powerful assault-style rifle.
The police department also shared an image of the car being investigated – a small white SUV with a black-painted front bumper. The Maine State Police have confirmed that this car belongs to the person who fired the shots.
Card, aged 40, fulfilled the role of a firearms instructor in the US Army Reserve.
He enlisted in 2002 as a Sergeant First Class and served as a Petroleum Supply Specialist, but did not participate in any combat missions.
According to a bulletin from Maine law enforcement that was seen by the Associated Press, he recently revealed that he has been struggling with mental health problems. These issues include experiencing auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices and receiving threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco.
In the summer of 2023, he was admitted to a mental health institution for a period of two weeks. Macra’s report reveals that Card has a record of being arrested for domestic violence and other offenses.
The family members of Card have expressed their surprise, with the 40-year-old’s sister-in-law informing The Daily Beast that they are greatly affected by the news.
“I have been acquainted with Rob since childhood,” stated Card during a conversation on Thursday. “He may be reserved, but he is the most caring, diligent, and compassionate individual I know. However, in the last year, he experienced a sudden mental health episode and it has been a challenging journey.”
She stated that her brother-in-law recently started using hearing aids and was convinced that he could hear people discussing him at the two places where the shooting occurred.
She stated that he genuinely thought he was hearing conversations. She also added that this all occurred within the past few months.
John Miller, a CNN analyst specializing in law enforcement and intelligence, characterized the firearm as an AR-15 style rifle equipped with a potentially telescopic sight. He observed that the perpetrator was dressed in blue tactical pants with noticeably bulging pockets, indicating the potential presence of additional ammunition.
During the press conference on Saturday morning, authorities stated that Card’s relatives were the first three people to positively identify him. They also mentioned a potential mental health issue surrounding the incident and clarified that there is no evidence of him being involuntarily committed for treatment.
We have information about the death of Card.
On Friday evening, authorities announced that they had located the body of Card following a 48-hour search. It is suspected that he took his own life.
The suspect, who was 40 years old, was discovered in a box trailer at the overflow lot of Maine Recycling Corporation. Maine State Police came across the deceased body of Card after receiving a call from the owner of the recycling plant. The owner had urged the police to search through the 55 to 60 trailers in the lot. Despite having searched the area twice before, the police received this call from the owner, who is believed to be Card’s former employer.
Two guns were found at the location and a third gun, which was a long gun, was found inside a white Subaru station wagon. Officials confirmed that the vehicle, belonging to Card, was located at a boat landing in Lisbon on Wednesday night.
“I am saddened to announce that he has passed away,” stated Governor Janet Mills of Maine during a press conference. She expressed gratitude to the officers who participated in the search for the individual.
“I, like many others, am relieved to know that Robert Card is no longer a danger to anyone. It is now time to focus on healing.”
What occurred in the shooting incident in Lewiston?
At around 7pm, law enforcement, firefighters, and rescue workers responded to a report of an active shooter at Just-In-Time Recreation on Mollison Way in Lewiston.
Several minutes passed before emergency calls reported a shooting at a nearby bar and restaurant, specifically Schemengees Bar and Grille on Lincoln Street.
During a press conference on Thursday, Maine Governor Janet Mills stated that a total of 18 individuals lost their lives and 13 were wounded in the attacks.
Seven individuals, including one woman and six men, were discovered deceased from gunshot injuries at the bowling alley.
Seven men were fatally injured within the Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and one man was fatally injured outside.
Three additional individuals passed away after being transported to a nearby hospital.
The status of those who were injured is still uncertain.
According to a city councillor who spoke to CNN, it was believed that 22 individuals had died and approximately 60 others were wounded.
Commissioner Mike Sauschuck of Maine’s Public Safety Department declined to provide an exact count of the fatalities that occurred on Wednesday evening, stating: “The situation is constantly changing. I do not currently have precise figures, but I will certainly share them with you when I do… I do not believe it would be beneficial at this time.”
Early reports also indicated that a shooting may have occurred at a third location, specifically at a Walmart Distribution Centre. However, this was later found to be inaccurate.
On Wednesday, Walmart issued a statement indicating that there was no incident of gun violence on their premises. The distribution center was put on lockdown while authorities conducted a thorough search, but no evidence was found and there were no reported injuries.
The Sheriff’s Office in Androscoggin County later shared two photographs of the individual in question entering a bowling alley, seemingly validating previous reports of their location.
What information do we have about the individual based on their social media activity?
The accused displayed a fascination with conservative commentators and political ideologies on X (previously known as Twitter) prior to his account being removed by the platform.
He showed interest in content from Elon Musk, Donald Trump Jr, Tucker Carlson, and Jordan Peterson. He seemed to be drawn to posts that expressed anti-trans opinions, as well as those related to gun rights, the coronavirus, and the economy.
Clicking the like button does not necessarily indicate agreement with the post’s content, and there is no evidence that it was intended as a political attack.
Heavy.com obtained a screenshot of the suspect’s X account before it was removed, in accordance with the platform’s rules. The profile picture on the account is reportedly consistent with images shared by law enforcement.
In March, he gave a like to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr. that read:
“Considering the significant increase in the number of trans/non-binary mass shooters in recent years, who make up the largest proportion of the population among all mass shooters, perhaps we should shift the focus from guns to addressing the potential influence of individuals with mental health issues promoting their ideas on gender identity onto our children.”
In March, he also showed appreciation for a video shared by Carlson, a previous contributor on Fox News. The post was accompanied by the statement: “The trans community is essentially the opposite of Christianity, making them natural adversaries. Those who believe they are divine cannot handle being reminded that they are not.”
The suspect was also interested in the topic of coronavirus. He showed approval for numerous posts that questioned the effectiveness of vaccines and government-imposed lockdowns for public health.
According to Heavy.com, the individual in question only followed a handful of accounts on the platform. These included a pro-Donald Trump page named Proud Patriots, the owner of X, Elon Musk, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, business network CNBC, and Joe Rogan. The individual also engaged with several accounts belonging to Republican politicians, including former House speaker Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan.
The individual showed support for a minimum of two posts on President Joe Biden’s social media account, which discussed his administration’s actions towards addressing inflation and taxes. Additionally, they also showed appreciation for multiple posts by Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC.
What occurred immediately following the shooting?
A video that was posted online depicted several police cars present in the nearby vicinity.
The Maine State Police released a message on the internet advising the public to stay indoors.
The police have reported an active gunman in Lewiston and are advising people to take shelter in their homes. It is recommended to stay indoors and keep all doors locked. Law enforcement is currently investigating at various sites.
“If you notice any unusual behavior or people, please contact 911. More information to come.”
Lewiston Public Schools issued a message advising individuals in the vicinity of the school or attending conferences to seek a secure location.
“We will be implementing a lockdown. I will share further details when they become available and appropriate,” the notification stated.
Police are warning the public to take shelter and be on the lookout for an armed and dangerous suspect who is currently at large in Maine.
On Thursday, authorities in Maine continued their search for Card and held a press conference in the evening. However, there was no significant update on the whereabouts of the gunman.
Police reported on Friday that they were continuing to expand their search efforts for Card, who is still on the loose. Diving teams have been sent to the Androscoggin River as part of the search.
According to Maine’s public safety commissioner Michael Sauschuck, law enforcement is still a few days away from finishing their investigation into the locations where the shootings occurred.
He requested that the public show respect and patience while the police complete their work of processing the scenes, identifying the victims, and contacting their families.
He announced that a press conference would take place daily at 10am Eastern Time until the perpetrator was located, shortly before Card’s body was discovered.
How is the community of Lewiston coping with the tragic event?
The schools in the area have declared that they will not hold classes on Thursday.
At the moment, there are still many uncertainties. While information is being shared rapidly, it may not always be completely accurate. It is important to either stay where you are or find a safe location. We will keep you informed with any new information and necessary actions. These were the words of Lewiston Public Schools.
“Remain near to your cherished ones. Show them love and support. Our thoughts and condolences are with those who have lost a loved one tonight. Our thoughts are also with all those who are working diligently to prevent any further loss of life.”
On Thursday, the town offices in Lisbon, which is adjacent to Lewiston, were shut down as well.
During Thursday’s press conference, Governor Mill of Maine stated that the state is among the safest in the country. She also promised to hold the responsible individual accountable.
She stated that she keeps these families and this city close to her heart.
“I hope to alleviate the pain in your hearts and shoulders, but rest assured that we will all lend a hand in bearing your sorrow.”
Police are currently searching for a gunman, prompting shelter-in-place orders for Androscoggin county and the northern part of Sagadahoc county. In response, numerous businesses and schools in surrounding areas have remained closed on Friday.
Maine, with a population of 1.3 million, has a low murder rate compared to other states. In 2022, there were only 29 reported homicides in the state.
After the suspect passed away, the community is starting to recover. Some events resumed on Saturday and there was consistent traffic at a solid waste facility on River Road. Due to the shelter-in-place order, city services were halted, causing garbage to accumulate in Lewiston. Vigils for the victims will take place over the weekend.
What has been the overall response?
Politicians and gun safety advocacy groups, along with Maine native and author Stephen King, have strongly denounced the attacks.
Senator Collins stated at a press conference on Thursday evening that the recent attack, which took the lives of at least 18 individuals from Maine and caused injuries to several others, was the most horrific mass shooting ever encountered in the state and beyond imagination.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, commanded that all American flags be lowered to half-staff. He expressed his thoughts online, stating, “Once again, our country mourns following another pointless and devastating mass shooting. Today, my wife Jill and I pray for the people in Maine who have lost their lives, those who are currently in critical care, and the loved ones, survivors, and members of the community who are experiencing shock and sorrow.”
Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement advocating for stronger gun safety regulations, stating to the press, “President Biden and I are taking immediate action. Through the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, we are committed to saving lives.”
“We have no time or life to waste.”
During her afternoon briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the White House has requested newly-elected House speaker Mike Johnson to collaborate on gun legislation following the incident. Jean-Pierre added that Johnson has expressed his willingness to work together and find areas of agreement.
“Presently is the opportune moment to reach a mutual understanding. We should collaborate to prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
Previously, Mr. Johnson, who was voted into office on Wednesday, received backlash for only offering “prayers” in response to the mass shooting, which he characterized as a “terrible tragedy.”
In these troubled times in America, we are facing numerous challenges and remain filled with hope and prayer. In such a situation, it is fitting to turn to prayer in the hopes of putting an end to the darkness and mindless acts of violence,” he stated.
“This is the statement being made this morning on behalf of the entire House of Representatives. There is a collective desire for this to come to an end and I will leave it at that.”
The leading Republican candidate and former president, Donald Trump, briefly commented on Truth Social about the current events in Maine, expressing concern over the reported death toll of 22 and lamenting the ongoing difficulties faced by the United States.
Nikki Haley, a GOP candidate, attributed the cause of most mass shootings to mental health issues, stating that “80% of these incidents are connected to mental health.”
According to Ms. Haley, one out of every three Americans experiences mental health issues. If these issues are addressed and treated, individuals can lead a normal life. However, if left untreated, the situation can worsen. Ms. Haley urged the US to implement more mental health resources.
In a similar manner, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and a candidate for 2024, proposed that mental health may have been the triggering factor for the shooting. He stated, “This may be another instance of our country’s mental health system failing.” He extended his thoughts and prayers to those affected.
Vivek Ramaswamy suggested that the US should take action to remove individuals who are both violent and suffering from mental illness from their communities, and be open to involuntarily committing them.
In addition, he proposed the revival of mental health facilities and utilizing “faith-based methods” for individuals with mental health issues instead of relying on medication.
Doug Burgum expressed his sadness over the shooting and sent thoughts and prayers to Maine.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who previously identified as a Democrat but now identifies as an Independent, urged individuals to carefully consider before incorporating the current situation into discussions on topics such as gun control, mental health, and terrorism.
Who are the individuals affected?
All 18 individuals who lost their lives in the shootings have been identified, including a 14-year-old boy who had accompanied his father to the bowling alley on that tragic evening.
According to Rob Young, the brother of Bill Young, 14-year-old Aaron Young was at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley with his father for a bowling league event when the shooting took place.
For several hours, the family of Aaron and Bill were unaware of their whereabouts. The search ultimately concluded in tragedy on Thursday afternoon, as the family received the devastating news that both the father and son had passed away.
Kim McConville, Bill’s cousin, informed NBC News before finding out about their deaths that they were simply “innocent individuals” having a fun night at the bowling alley.
“Just innocent people out for a night of bowling,” she said. “This was a children’s event. You know, who expects a shooter to go into a children’s event? But you know, this is a crazy world that we live in today.”
Cassandra, the daughter-in-law of a 76-year-old former Sears mechanic and dedicated bowler, confirmed to the Portland Press Herald that he was one of the individuals affected by the incident at the bowling alley.
Bob Violette, a Lewiston native who oversaw a youth bowling league, was tragically killed while attempting to protect the children under his care on Wednesday evening.
Mr. Violette and his wife Lucy were both enthusiastic bowlers. He initiated the youth bowling league at Sparetime Recreation and was recently honored with induction into the Maine Bowling Hall of Fame.
Cassandra mentioned that he always made sure to give you a hug and a kiss on the cheek before you left, and that he was always there for everything.
Tommy Conrad, age 34, was employed as a manager at the bowling alley. Tragically, he also lost his life in the assault, leaving behind a nine-year-old daughter.
It has been disclosed that two companions, Michael Deslauriers and Jason Walker, tragically lost their lives while protecting their loved ones from gunfire at a bowling alley. They bravely confronted the shooter to defend their family members.
On the Facebook page of the Sabattus Historical Society, a poignant post by Michael Deslauriers Sr., the father of Deslauriers, detailed the actions of the two men as they bravely attempted to save others and put an end to the violence.
“I, Michael Deslauriers Sr., have the most difficult news a father could ever have to share,” he stated.
“My son Michael Deslauriers II and his dearest friend Jason Walker were murdered last night at the bowling alley. They made sure their wives and several young children were under cover then they charged the shooter.”
On a night when she wasn’t working, Tricia Asselin was at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling when a gunman entered and started shooting.
Asselin’s sibling, Bobbi Nichols, was present during the chaos but ultimately lost her life. Bobbi managed to escape, unlike Asselin.
One of the individuals at the second location, Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, was recognized as the manager of the bar, Joseph Walker.
A number of other individuals present at the bar were participating in a deaf cornhole competition at that moment.
Joshua Seal was employed as an interpreter for American Sign Language at the Pine Tree Society. He was presiding over the gathering for members of the deaf community when the shooting incident took place.
Elizabeth, his wife, announced his passing on Facebook. She expressed that he was not only a fantastic leader, but also a skilled translator, a dear companion, a devoted son, brother, uncle, and grandson. He prioritized his family and loved them deeply.
According to Bryan MacFarlane’s sister, he typically attended the bar on Wednesdays for a regular cornhole game and to socialize with his friends. She discovered that he was also a victim of the attack.
According to their loved ones, Bill Brackett and Steven Vozzella were participating in a community event for deaf individuals when they tragically lost their lives.
At that time, Arthur Strout, who was 42 years old and a father of five, had informed his father that he planned to stay for a few more matches. However, the shooting occurred shortly after.
Arthur Barnard informed WCVB that he had recently been at the bar with his son and had departed only 10 minutes ago.
A 10-year-old girl who was hurt in a shooting in Maine posed a heart-wrenching question during a television interview.
“He said he departed 10 minutes prior to this occurrence. It was agreed that he would leave with me, but he changed his mind and chose to stay for a few more games,” he stated. He further commented, “He was adored by many. They simply adored him.”
The Maine AFL-CIO, which is a collection of more than 160 labor unions within the state, shared that one of its members, Peyton Brewer Ross, was among the individuals who lost their lives.
The federation shared a photo on X of Mr. Ross, a new father who was adored by his community, holding a young child and smiling. He was also a member of the Machinists Local S6 union.
The family of Ron Morin has confirmed that he was one of the victims. They honored him in a post on Facebook, saying, “Rest in Paradise, Ronnie. Your smile and vibrant energy will always be cherished and greatly missed.”
This information is from the independent.co.uk.