Manhunt Underway For Suspect In Maine Mass Shootings

Robert Card, 40, is wanted on eight counts of murder in the shooting, which left 18 dead.

Schools are shut down and residents are being advised to shelter in place as authorities search for a gunman in Wednesday night’s mass shootings at a bar and bowling alley in Maine.

An arrest warrant for Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin, Maine, has been issued for eight counts of murder following an attack that left 18 people dead and 13 others injured in Lewiston, the state’s second-largest city, state police said at a press conference Thursday.

Only eight of the victims had been identified at the time of the press conference, resulting in only eight counts of murder, said Maine State Police Col. William Ross.

Robert Card, 40, has been named a person of interest in Wednesday night's mass shootings at a bar and bowling alley.
Robert Card, 40, has been named a person of interest in Wednesday night's mass shootings at a bar and bowling alley.
Lewiston Maine Police Department

“Mr. Card is armed and dangerous, and police advise that Maine people should not approach him under any circumstances,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) warned at the press conference. “Please, if you see anything suspicious, please call 911.”

Card was trained at a U.S. Army Reserve training facility and at some point had threatened to carry out a shooting at Maine’s Saco National Guard Base, according to a bulletin that was sent out to law enforcement officials following the shooting and reviewed by The Associated Press and The Telegraph. On Thursday, the U.S. Army released a statement denying earlier reports that Card had been trained as a firearms instructor during his service.

The bulletin also stated that Card had spent two weeks at a mental health facility this past summer and had reported hearing voices.

Police declined to comment during Thursday’s press conference on the suspect’s mental health or on how he was able to obtain a firearm.

NBC News, citing multiple law enforcement officials, reported that a note was found at Card’s home after a search warrant was executed there. The note’s contents were not immediately disclosed, however.

More than 350 law enforcement personnel ― consisting of officers from Maine along with neighboring states and national agencies ― were participating in the search for Card, authorities said.

State police said Card’s vehicle, a small white SUV, was found abandoned at a boat launch in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Card has two watercraft registered to his name, including a 1989 Bayliner boat, according to public records.

A sign advises residents to stay home on Thursday as law enforcement continued to search for a suspect in Wednesday's mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine.
A sign advises residents to stay home on Thursday as law enforcement continued to search for a suspect in Wednesday's mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the attack would loom large in Maine but declined to advocate for any effort to rein in access to assault-style weapons.

“Today is a dark day for the state of Maine,” the lawmaker said. “This heinous attack, which has robbed the lives of at least 18 Mainers and injured so many more, is the worst mass shooting that the state of Maine has ever experienced and could ever imagine.”

“Everyone is determined to bring the killer to justice,” Collins added, noting 80 FBI agents were assisting state and local authorities to track down Card. The senator said she would support efforts to ban “very high capacity magazines” in Congress.

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), whose district includes Lewiston, said that the shootings had shifted his stance on gun restrictions and that he had held a “false confidence that our community was above this.”

“I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war,” Golden said at a news conference later Thursday. “The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure. … For the good of the community, I will work with any colleague to get this done.”

The U.S. Coast Guard was searching nearby waterways for Card’s 15-foot Bayliner, which was unaccounted for, The Messenger reported, citing a Coast Guard official with the Boothbay Harbor Station.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Koroknay confirmed to HuffPost that the maritime law enforcement agency is participating in the search but declined to comment on any water vehicles they may be looking for.

Authorities said they responded to reports of mass casualty events at multiple locations, within minutes of one another, starting around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

State police said seven people — six men and one woman — were found fatally shot inside of a bowling alley that police identified as Sparetime Recreation. The bowling alley was renamed to Just-In-Time Recreation in 2021, according to its website and social media pages.

Eight more people were found dead at the nearby Schemengees Bar and Grille. One man was found dead outside the establishment, and seven others dead inside, police said.

Three additional victims were taken to local hospitals where they were pronounced dead, police said.

Photos released that night by police show a bearded man who appears to be armed with an AR-15-style rifle entering the popular bowling alley with his gun drawn.

Shocking videos show people fleeing the bowling alley into the night, some of whom appear to be with children. A number of parents and children were at the facility as part of a children’s bowling league, according to the AP.

In a statement Thursday morning, the bowling alley said it was completely devastated and shocked by the violence.

“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,” it said in a Facebook post. “We are praying for everyone who has been affected by this horrific tragedy. We love you all and hold you close in our hearts.”

Officials have warned residents to shelter in place in Lewiston, Auburn, Bowdoin and Lisbon, Maine. Schools across the region, including in the state’s most populous city of Portland, 30 miles south of Lewiston, were canceled on Thursday. The city of Lewiston said its public schools would remain closed on Friday as well.

The state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles said all of its branches would be closed on Thursday “in order for our customer-facing staff to feel safe and secure.” Private businesses also announced they were shutting down amid the manhunt.

A police officer blocks access to a road leading to a bowling alley where seven people were fatally shot on Wednesday night.
A police officer blocks access to a road leading to a bowling alley where seven people were fatally shot on Wednesday night.
Scott Eisen via Getty Images

Hannaford Supermarkets announced that all of its stores in Maine would be closed until at least 10 a.m. Thursday due to the shelter-in-place advisories. The company has at least 66 stores in the state, according to its website.

“The health and safety of our associates and customers is our top priority. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of our associates and community members as we collectively cope with this heartbreaking tragedy,” the company, which is headquarters in Scarborough, Maine, said in a statement.

Local leaders have expressed shock and heartbreak at the news.

“This is something that’s completely unusual. This is not something to be expected in Maine,” Jason Levesque, the mayor of nearby Auburn, said in an interview with NBC News. “Maine is an extremely safe state. This is an absolutely disturbed individual.”

Levesque added, “These are just people going out to have a piece of pizza and go bowling. This is just normal America.”

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline also expressed heartbreak, according to the Sun Journal. “Lewiston is known for our strength and grit, and we will need both in the days to come.”

Gov. Mills said she has spoken with President Joe Biden and that all state and U.S. flags will be flown at half-mast in Maine for the next five days in memory of the victims.

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