Firearms instructor receiving treatment at mental health facility is suspect in Maine shooting: police

Lewiston, Maine – The man identified in connection with a mass killing in Maine was a military-trained firearms instructor who was recently committed to a mental hospital, according to a state police bulletin.

A police intelligence bulletin reviewed by The Associated Press was distributed to law enforcement officials late Wednesday following the shootings that killed at least 16 people.

The announcement stated that the man, Robert Card, had received firearms instructor training at the U.S. Army Reserve Training Facility in Maine. Card was sent to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023, documents state. The documents provide no specific details about his treatment or condition.

The documents also say Card reported hearing voices and threatening to shoot at a military training base in Saco, Maine.

Card is wanted by police as a suspect in Wednesday’s shooting. The card phone number listed in public records is not available.

Lewiston police confirmed in a Facebook post that Card was a suspect in the shooting and said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Shootings at a Lewiston bowling alley and a bar on Wednesday night left at least 16 people dead and plunged the state’s second-largest city into chaos. The suspect remains at large as authorities order residents and business owners to stay in and off the streets.

Dozens of people were also injured, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Lewiston police said in an earlier Facebook post that they were responding to a shooting at Schengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office posted two suspect photos on its Facebook page, showing a gunman walking into a property with a weapon raised over his shoulder.

“Please stay off the roads to allow emergency crews access to the hospital,” police said.

Central Maine Medical Center said on its website that staff are “responding to mass casualty and mass shooting incidents” and are coordinating with area hospitals to admit patients. A woman who answered the phone in the emergency room said no further information could be released and the hospital itself was on lockdown.

Melinda Small, owner of Legends Sports Bar and Grill, said her staff immediately locked the doors after a customer reported hearing about a shooting at a nearby bowling alley less than a quarter mile away , and moved all 25 customers and employees outside. Soon after 7pm, police flooded the roads and one officer eventually escorted everyone out of the building, four at a time. Everyone in the bar is safe.

“Honestly, I’m in shock. I’m lucky that my team responded quickly and everyone is safe,” Small told The Associated Press. “But at the same time, I’m heartbroken for this district and what everyone is dealing with. I just feel numb.”

An alert was called to Lewiston just after 8 p.m. when the Sheriff’s Office reported that law enforcement agencies were investigating “two shootings.” Officials released an update on the search around 10 p.m.

“Please avoid the area until authorities give the all clear. Find alternative routes to avoid the area and any disruptions. If you are already operating a business in the affected area, please follow all instructions issued by local officials, including shelter- Place orders.”

“We encourage all businesses to lock down or close during the investigation,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.

A spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety urged residents to stay home and lock their doors.

“Law enforcement is currently conducting investigations at two locations,” Shannon Moss said. “Again, please stay off the streets and allow law enforcement to calm the situation.”

Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement echoing the directives. She said she was informed of the situation and would be in close contact with public safety officials.

A White House statement said President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Mills and the state’s lawmakers to offer “full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack.”

Local schools will be closed Thursday and people should shelter in place or seek safety, Sheriff Jake Langlais said, adding: “Stay close to loved ones. Hug them.”

Lewiston, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Portland, has become a major center for African immigrants to Maine. Thousands of Somalis turned this once predominantly white factory city into one of the most diverse cities in northern New England.

Lewiston city spokesperson Angie Amores said city officials would not comment on the shooting. Amores said Maine State Police plans to hold a news conference Wednesday night and may update the public at a town hall.

Maine Independent Sen. Angus King said he was “deeply saddened by the city of Lewiston and all those who are worried about their families, friends and neighbors” and was monitoring the situation closely. King’s office said the senator will take the first flight directly back to Maine.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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