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Recently released legal papers have revealed the potential reason behind the large-scale shooting in Lewiston, Maine – and the purported shooter’s mental state.
On Tuesday, Maine State Police and the Maine Department of Public Safety released a trove of affidavits, search warrants and other documents in the case, including harrowing witness accounts from suspect Robert Card’s son and brother as well as survivors of the massacre.
According to the documents, witnesses informed law enforcement that prior to the October 25th attacks, the US Army reservist had suspicions that individuals at Schemengees Bar & Grille and Just-In-Time bowling alley were spreading false online rumors about him being a paedophile.
Witnesses reported that the individual who committed the shooting had a belief that the bar manager, who was one of his victims, had referred to him as “gay.”
He had also encountered his former partner at the bar – a former partner who had recently ended their relationship.
The recent information uncovers the connection between the 40-year-old and the bar and bowling alley, providing insight into why he may have selected those two locations for Maine’s first major mass shooting.
The shooter initially focused on the crowded bowling alley at around 7pm on October 25th, resulting in the deaths of seven individuals. Among the victims was a 14-year-old boy who was bowling with his father and their league.
Afterwards, he went directly to the Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and proceeded to shoot, resulting in the deaths of eight individuals. Three more victims passed away after being transported to a nearby hospital.
In addition to the 18 fatalities, 13 others were wounded in the assaults.
A massive two-day search ensued after the shooting, until Card’s remains were discovered on Friday at a Lisbon recycling center where he had been employed. He took his own life, and authorities confirmed that he had left a note at his residence expressing his intention to not be found alive.
In May, which was five months before the mass shooting occurred, Card’s family members reached out to law enforcement regarding his troubling beliefs. These beliefs involved a conspiracy in which people were accusing him of being a paedophile, according to newly released documents.
Based on an official report, submitted by a deputy from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, the son of Card stated to authorities that his father started expressing concerns about others discussing him while they were in public.
He reported that the incidents started in January and involved individuals who were not in his father’s vicinity and did not speak to his father.
The deputy noted that his son believed Robert may have been hearing voices or developing paranoia.
The recurring idea behind this fear, he stated, was that Card alleged that people were making negative comments about him, specifically accusing him of being a pedophile.
Over time, the situation became more intense when Card’s son admitted to growing “extremely upset” with his father during a visit and went so far as to accuse his own son of speaking negatively about him.
According to the documents, several witnesses also shared the belief that Card’s mental state revolved around his fear of a conspiracy by paedophiles against him.
Card’s brother informed authorities that he had contacted him regarding taking legal measures against individuals who were allegedly labeling him as a pedophile.
Meanwhile, a soldier from the Army Reserves unit stated that Card had alleged that his fellow soldiers had referred to him as a sex offender.
The military’s involvement in this event prompted the Army to schedule a mental health assessment for him during the summer.
Card stated that four nearby establishments he regularly visited, including the two that were attacked in the violent incident, were publicly sharing accusations of him being a child abuser on the internet.
Witnesses reported that Card eventually suspected certain relatives of being part of the plot.
Based on a sworn statement, it seems that the “plot” originated when he took his former partner’s two young daughters to Schemengees for a meal.
According to the document, Robert’s thoughts about being a pedophile stemmed from his experiences with his girlfriend’s two daughters, as he often accompanied them and felt like others were judging him.
He informed the witness that Joey Walker, the manager of the bar, had labeled him as gay.
One of the 18 casualties in the shooting was Walker. It is not certain if he was specifically targeted by Card when he began shooting at the bar.
According to a witness, Card’s girlfriend was also introduced to him at Schemengees while they were both participating in a cornhole competition. The witness shared this information with law enforcement officials.
According to the affidavit, the pair separated in February and it seemed to cause Card to become unhinged.
According to witnesses, he started using hearing aids, experienced noticeable weight loss, and began making erratic statements.
During the month of July, Card stayed at a mental health facility in New York and was given a prescription for medication.
In September, the Army deemed him unfit for deployment and requested a welfare check from local law enforcement due to worries that he may “snap” and engage in a mass shooting.
A notification was also sent out across the state to locate Card.
However, following two unsuccessful attempts to check his home, the alert was terminated on October 18th.
After seven days, Card began his lethal attack.
As the news of the shooting became known to the Lewiston community, Card’s family immediately became concerned that he may have been the perpetrator.
After only 15 minutes since the shooting at Schemengees, his sister contacted the police and provided them with his name.
The source for this information is the Independent, a news website.