A tragic incident unfolded in Lewiston, Maine, as the peaceful evening was shattered by the horrifying sounds of a mass shooting, resulting in the death of 18 individuals. Details about the incident were unveiled the following day, revealing that 13 others fortunately survived, albeit with injuries.
The respective authorities confirmed the heartbreaking incident, which saw a city sorrowful and shocked. The governor of Maine, Janet Mills, addressed the tragic event on the Thursday morning following the incident.
Robert Card, a 40-year-old man, was singled out as the primary person of interest behind the ghastly act. This revelation was made by Mike Sauschuck, the Maine Public Safety Commissioner, during an informative press briefing on Thursday morning.
Card is believed to be on the run and is considered to be armed, inciting a serious threat. The public safety sectors are dedicated to locating Card in a bid to quickly conclude the manhunt.
In the wake of the calamity, the law enforcement department found themselves grappling to identify the victims of the attack, a point brought across by state police Col. William Ross.
There were eight victims who were easily recognizable, leaving 10 others that presented a challenge in terms of identification. Tragically, three other people who had been rushed to the nearby hospital succumbed to their injuries, further escalating the death toll.
The case of Robert Card makes for a unique situation. CBS News revealed a law enforcement bulletin which indicated that Card served in the U.S. Army Reserve.
More concerning was the fact that he was believed to be struggling with mental health issues, judging by the reports that he was hearing voices. He had even been committed to a mental health facility for a fortnight during summer, which was a clear red flag. Most ominously, he had previously threatened to unleash a shooting spree at the local National Guard base in Saco, Maine.
An Army spokesperson shed more light on Robert Card’s military status, revealing that Card was a petroleum supply specialist and a sergeant first class in the Reserve. As the manhunt for Card continued, authorities circulated his image asking that the members of the public get in contact should they recognize him. Meanwhile, amid the search, the police in Lisbon, a town located approximately 7 miles southeast of Lewiston, implored citizens to report any suspicious activities or individuals seen in the area.
According to insider information, Card is suspected to have some ties with Massachusetts. For this reason, the state police and federal agents in Massachusetts are stationed strategically around the Maine border, ready to intercept the fugitive. Canada’s Border Services Agency recognizes the threat as well, alerting officers along the border adjoining the U.S. and Canada with a warning about a potentially ‘armed and dangerous’ individual.
The manhunt for Card utilized even more resources, turning to the sea. The U.S. Coast Guard had set itself on a mission on the waterways to locate Card’s boat. They deployed a response vessel from Boothbay Harbor, Maine, alongside a fixed-wing aircraft from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Every possible avenue was being explored to ensure the speedy apprehension of the suspect.
Residents of Lewiston and Lisbon were advised to stay inside their homes as a safety measure. The city of Auburn, a neighboring city standing on the western border of Lewiston, didn’t lag behind and echoed the shelter-in-place advisory. City and regional safety was of utmost priority, guiding the instructions issued by law enforcement.
The unsettling activities in the region also had a significant effect on the education system, with several schools deciding to remain closed due to security concerns. Amidst this turmoil, a heartfelt message was penned on Facebook by the owner of Schemengees. He expressed his disbelief and ache at the unexpected calamity that caused numerous losses in their tight-knit community.
A survivor of the bowling alley shooting recounted the horrifying ordeal to The Associated Press. He remembered hearing around ten gunshots, initially brushing off the first as a balloon popping. The sight of the armed attacker, however, compelled him to duck and hide behind the machinery and pins in the bowling alley.
Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston confirmed they had provided emergency medical care to one of the victims before transferring them to the Maine Medical Center in Portland. Remarkably, despite the gravity of the situation, the patient has since been discharged, bringing a small solace in a time of despair.
President Biden’s office, acknowledging the gravity of the situation, confirmed that he had been updated about the incident in Lewiston. Additional support and oversight was being provided by the FBI. Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was also briefed about the situation, expressing solidarity and stating that his agency stands with the law enforcement officers and first responders currently working to secure Lewiston.
Governor Mills in her statement urged the populace to heed the advice of local and state law enforcement. She assured that she will stay abreast of the situation and maintain constant communication with public safety officials, as they worked to restore safety and normalcy.
In a similar sentiment, the office of a local statesman stated deep sadness for the city of Lewiston and to all those concerned about their loved ones. As the state of Maine mourned the catastrophe, they were shown support from across the country, represented by a call from President Biden offering assistance – a helping hand in a time of uncertainty and grief.