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Police presence at Schemengees Bar and Grille where a mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine, on 25 October 2023. A massive manhunt was underway on 26 October for a suspect who allegedly killed at least 18 people in twin attacks.  (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Law Enforcement Hunt Continues for Mass Shooting Suspect in Maine

Swaths of the U.S. state of Maine are on lockdown today after a mass shooter attacked a restaurant and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, last night at around 7:00 p.m. local time. The shootings—first at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and then at Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant, which are about four miles apart—left at least 18 people killed and 13 injured.

Maine State Police Colonel William Ross shared a timeline of the incident so far in a press conference today, explaining that the two shootings occurred less than 15 minutes apart, based on the initial 911 emergency calls received from each site. Seven people were killed at the bowling alley; eight were killed at the restaurant. Three people later died of their injuries at local hospitals. Eight of the 18 victims have been identified as of 11:00 a.m. ET on 26 October.

The bowling alley—a longtime establishment in the town, formerly known as Sparetime Recreation—was particularly full because it was a children’s bowling league night, so many families were there to watch their children participate, BBC reported. In addition, it was a popular “industry night” at Schemengees, with discounts offered to customers who work in the bar or restaurant industry.

Police shared video surveillance images from the bowling alley that showed a white man with brown hair and a short beard, and he was pointing what appears to be an AR-15-style rifle. The shooter fled the scene of the second shooting, sparking an ongoing manhunt. Later in the evening of 25 October, police named a person of interest in connection with the shootings—Robert Card, 40.

Col. Ross explained in the press conference today that Card is now a suspect in the case, and he is wanted for eight counts of murder. The charges are likely to increase as the remaining victims are identified.

The police bulletin described Card as a firearms instructor, believed to be part of the U.S. Army Reserve and assigned to a training facility in Saco, Maine. The bulletin was circulated to law enforcement officials in the state, and it said that Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023, but did not provide details about his condition, the Associated Press reported. The bulletin did note, however, that Card had reported “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” the military base. Police have warned that Card is considered armed and dangerous, and they advised the public not to approach him or make any contact.

In a press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET this morning, local law enforcement officials noted that the area is leveraging an all-hands-on-deck approach in the homicide investigation and manhunt, with state and federal law enforcement participating. FBI Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen explained that the Bureau is participating, pledging to work alongside state and local partners to investigate the attack “with rigor.”

Mike Sauschuck, Maine commissioner for the department of public safety, noted that anything the state has asked its federal and outside partners for, “the answer has been ‘yes,’” including for tactical support such as helicopter-based searches.

Shelter-in-place orders were issued for all of Androscoggin County (where Lewiston is located) and the nearby town of Bowdoin, and public schools and city buildings in Portland, Maine, are closed today. Officials urged residents to stay inside and lock their doors, according to local news station WMTW. Grocery stores remained closed until midmorning, and Portland’s airport increased security. Bates College remained locked down overnight and into the morning of 26 October.

The attack was particularly shocking in Maine, which had only 29 homicides across the state of 1.3 million people in 2022. It is the 36th mass killing in the United States in 2023, according to a database maintained by the AP, Northeastern University, and USA TODAY.

Maine Governor Janet Mills encouraged anyone who needs emotional or mental health support in the wake of the attack to call or text the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.

“This is a dark day for Maine,” Mills said in a press conference this morning. “I know it’s hard for us to think about healing when our hearts are broken. But I want every person in Maine to know that we will heal together. We are strong, we are resilient, we are a very caring people. In the days and weeks ahead, we need to lean on those qualities more than ever before. As we move forward, struggling as we may, let us wrap our arms around one another, offer comfort, and solace, and love.”


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