Maine police searching for Army reservist suspected of shooting dead 18 people
Maine police searching for Army reservist suspected of shooting dead 18 people

Maine police on Thursday were searching for a U.S. Army reservist wanted for murder after 18 people were killed and 13 were wounded in shooting attacks at a bowling alley and a bar in the city of Lewiston the previous night.

In an expanding manhunt, police fanned out across southern Maine with an arrest warrant for Robert R. Card, a sergeant at a nearby U.S. Army Reserve base who law enforcement officials said had been temporarily committed to a mental health facility over the summer.

Police circulated photographs of a bearded man in a brown hooded sweatshirt and jeans at one of the crime scenes armed with what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle.

Public school districts in the area canceled classes on Thursday and police urged residents to stay indoors.

U.S. President Joe Biden, echoing other officials, said in a statement that he mourned "yet another senseless and tragic mass shooting" in a nation where deadly gun violence is commonplace. He again urged Congress to pass a ban on high-capacity magazines and other gun regulations.

"This is a dark day for Maine," Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, said at a press conference. "Mr. Card is considered armed and dangerous and police advise that Maine people should not approach him under any circumstances."

Maine State Police found a white SUV they believe Card drove to the town of Lisbon, about 7 miles (11 km) to the southeast of Lewiston, and urged people to remain indoors in both Lewiston and Lisbon. Police also told residents of Bowdoin, Card's hometown about 12 miles east of Lewiston, to shelter in place.

There was an eerie quiet in Lewiston and Lisbon on Thursday, with almost no cars on the roads and just a few people outside. Many downtown businesses appeared to be closed. An illuminated "Shelter in Place" sign was stationed on Lewiston's Main Street.

Card, 40, is a petroleum supply specialist at the Army Reserve base in Saco, Maine, who had never been deployed in combat since enlisting in 2002, the U.S. Army said.

A Maine law enforcement bulletin described Card as a trained firearms instructor who recently said that he had been hearing voices and had other mental health issues.

He threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco and was "reported to have been committed to mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released," according to the bulletin from the Maine Information & Analysis Center, a unit of the state police. Reuters could not confirm the details reported in the bulletin.

The attacks began shortly before 7 p.m. at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, where one female patron and six males were shot dead, police said, without giving the victims' ages. Within about 10 minutes, they received reports of a shooting at Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, about three miles (5 km) away. Seven males were fatally shot dead there, police said.

Three victims who were taken to hospitals later died of their injuries.

Doctors at Maine Central Health Care were treating eight survivors, with three in critical condition, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Alexander told reporters.

"In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason," Schemengees posted on its Facebook page.

"How can we make any sense of this."

Just-In-Time in a Facebook post said its staff were "devastated for our community."

"None of this seems real, but unfortunately it is," it said in the post. "We lost some amazing and whole hearted people from our bowling family and community last night. There are no words to fix this or make it better."

Lewiston is a former textile hub about 35 miles (56 km) north of Maine's largest city, Portland, and home to about 38,000 people.

Source(s): Reuters

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