Maine shooting update: Suspect's body has been found
Lewiston mass shooting suspect's body found by law enforcement
Maine State Police say that the suspect in a series of mass shootings in Lewiston was found dead on Friday evening.
According to Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck, 40-year-old Robert Card was found along the Androscoggin River around 7:45 p.m. Police say Card died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Even as the lockdowns lift, Lewiston area residents say normalcy still feels far away
The two straight days of lockdown has been an inconvenience for some, but many residents said that even as they ventured out to find what few stores were open, there was a sense that something was different.
Mass shooting deaths ripple through small lakeside town of Winthrop
14-year-old Aaron Young, and his father, Bill, were gunned down at Sparetime Recreation and were among the victims of Wednesday's mass shootings connected to the lakeside town of Winthrop, west of Augusta.
Aaron's uncle described the high schooler as a "gentle and thoughtful" kid who loved bowling and spending time with his dad. Family members said Bill was hardworking, funny, and he and his wife were always the first to lend a hand.
Officials release the names, ages and photos of all 18 victims
The Maine Department of Public Safety released the names, ages and photos of all 18 victims Friday evening at a press conference.
- Ronald Morin, 55
- Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40
- Joshua Seal, 36
- Maxx Hathaway, 35
- Stephen Vozzella, 45
- Thomas Conrad, 34
- William Young, 44, and Aaron Young, 14, father and son
- Bryan MacFarlane, 41
- Joseph Walker, 57
- Michael Deslauriers II, 51
- Jason Walker, 51
- Arthur Strout, 42
- William Brackett, 48
- Tricia Asselin, 53
- Keith Macneir, 64
- Robert Violette, 76, and Lucille Violette, 73, husband and wife
Lewiston's mass shooting deals devastating blow to deaf and hard of hearing community
The shock and anguish from the mass shooting in Lewiston continues to ripple across Maine. And the deaf and hard of hearing community is experiencing those feelings acutely.
Four of the eight men killed at a bar and billiards hall were gunned down in what it appears to be the worst mass shooting of deaf people in U.S. history ➡
Shelter-in-place order has been lifted as search continues for suspect
The search continues for Robert Card, but the general shelter-in-place order has been lifted, Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said at a Friday evening press conference.
Additionally, hunting is temporarily suspended in Lewiston, Lisbon, Bowdoin and Monmouth beginning Saturday and “until further notice,” Sauschuck said.
Sauschuck went on to detail law enforcement’s response times to the shootings.
The first 911 call came from the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley at 6:56 p.m. ET Wednesday, and the first Lewiston police officer arrived at 7 p.m. Four plainclothes officers were nearby at a gun range and arrived at the bowling alley in about a minute and a half, Sauschuck said.
“That cuts almost two and a half minutes off the original, or the initial uniformed police officer response,” Sauschuck said.
“We're very, very lucky that the officers were that close because I think you save lives with time responses,” he said. “And in an urban atmosphere, depending on where everybody is and how busy the night is, that response could have been much longer than that.”
Additionally, Sauschuck said the 911 call to the bar came in at 7:08 p.m. and officers first arrived to the scene at 7:13 p.m. The Department of Public Safety has received more than 500 tips from the community.
WATCH: Law enforcement provide update to the public
The livestream is expected to begin at 5 p.m. local time.
How to talk to kids in the wake of violent tragedy
Children and young people especially can feel overwhelmed by current events without proper support. Dr. Gene Beresin, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, joined GBH’s All Things Considered to talk through how to support young people through difficult times.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy: 'We know how to solve this'
Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator from Connecticut, has advocated against gun violence at the federal level since the 2012 Newtown school shooting, which left 20 children and six educators dead.
“We still don't have universal criminal background checks. Maine doesn't,” Murphy said. “We shouldn't give military-style assault weapons to anybody. They are the weapons of mass murderers. Connecticut bans those weapons. Maine doesn't.”
States could take action, he said, “but the federal government needs to do the right thing.”
Lewiston school district has canceled classes for Monday
Lewiston students will not be attending classes on Monday.
The school district announced the cancellation around 3:30 p.m. Friday. It comes after hearing input from staff, who said extra time would be needed to provide care for their students.
Schools in the district have been closed since Thursday, as have schools throughout the region.
And with Halloween on the horizon, several events that were originally scheduled for the weekend have been canceled or postponed.
Among them are the Black Cat Ball and "Thriller" workshop in Lewiston; the Great Pumpkin Ball and Children's Museum After Dark adults-only party in Portland; and fall festivals, trunk or treats, Halloween dinner dances and other celebrations in East Wilton, Farmington, Jay, Livermore, Norway and Rumford.
How to help people affected by the shooting in Lewiston
Officials said at the Friday morning briefing that more information will be available soon about how to help those affected by the shooting, including where to donate.
In the meantime, here are a few of the organizations soliciting help so far:
The Boston Bruins Foundation is pledging a minimum of $100,000 to those affected by the shooting. It's encouraging people to donate online to a specific fund, and also has offered raffle tickets and a signed stick auction at the Bruins game against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
The American Red Cross says it had donated 175 blood products to Maine hospitals as of late Wednesday night, and is ready to provide more. Anyone interested in donating blood in the coming days can make an appointment online, though the organization is urging Maine residents to follow guidance from local law enforcement (meaning people under shelter-in-place orders shouldn't necessarily venture out to donate blood).
Central Maine Healthcare has established a fund to offset the cost of patient care.
"Donations will support our mission at Central Maine Medical Center which is to provide exceptional healthcare services in a safe and trustful environment, through the expertise, commitment and compassion of our caregivers," it says.
The hospital system said earlier that nearly all of the victims who initially survived the attack were brought to its Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) in Lewiston.
It says people can contact the hospital's director of development for more information on how to support the hospital, and thanked community members for their support already: "We continue to receive a steady course of meals and food for our hospital staff."
Biden got an update from the FBI this afternoon
President Biden got an update on the shooting from his senior staff on Friday afternoon, and spoke with FBI Director Christopher Wray, the White House told reporters.
Wray said more than 200 FBI personnel are in Maine to support the investigation and help the victims, according to the White House.
Details begin to emerge about accused mass shooter
Police have released little information about Robert R. Card, aside from that he is a 40-year-old Bowdoin resident who should be considered armed and dangerous. But a picture of Card has begun to emerge from other official sources, family and community members.
Maine officials will hold another press conference at 5 p.m. ET
The Maine Department of Public Safety says it will hold another briefing at 5 p.m. ET.
Officials said earlier today that they are committed to briefing reporters every day at 10 a.m. ET, and may choose to hold an afternoon briefing if news merits.
Law enforcement personnel have been searching for evidence at several locations across the region, including the river near where the suspect's car was found earlier this week.
The Maine medical examiner's office has identified all 18 victims
The office of Maine's Chief Medical Examiner confirmed in an email Friday that all 18 victims of Wednesday's mass shooting have been identified.
The office said the youngest victim was 14 and the oldest was 76, but that it could not share any additional information at this time.
Earlier Friday, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said during a press conference only eight of the victims had been identified, and their families notified.
What we know about the victims so far
Law enforcement officials have yet to release the names of victims from Wednesday night's shooting, saying they've only identified eight of the 18 killed in the attacks at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille.
But that hasn't stopped families of some of the victims from coming forward in the media and online, airing their grief and sharing the names and stories of those who lost their lives.
Here are some of the names that have emerged:
Bob Violette, 76, was a dedicated volunteer coach for a youth bowling league. He was killed at Just-in-Time while trying to save those around him, his daughter-in-law told Maine Public on Thursday. Violette's wife, Lucy, was still missing as of Thursday evening and her family fears she was also shot.
Michael Deslauriers Jr. was killed at the bowling alley while trying to rush the gunman, according to a Facebook post shared by his father, who goes by the same name.
Jason Walker, a close friend of Deslauriers Jr., was also killed at the bowling alley, according to the same Facebook post.
Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40, worked as a pipefitter at Bath Iron Works, a local machinists' union shared in a statement. He loved cornhole, wrestling, comic book heroes and helping others, his colleagues said.
Joe Walker "died as a hero," his father told NBC News on Thursday. Walker, the bar manager at Schemengees, was shot twice while going after the shooter with a butcher knife, said Leroy Walker. But knowing that makes the pain "even worse," Walker added. "Joe was a son, a great son, a loving husband. He had two grandchildren and a stepson. ... thousands of people loved him."
Tricia Asselin, an employee of the bowling alley, had the night off but decided to go bowling with her sister, her mother told NBC News. She was shot and killed while trying to call 911. Asselin's cousin, who survived the shooting, remembered Asselin as "the most fun person" and "always happy-go-lucky."
Bill Young, 44, and his 14-year-old son, Aaron, were at Just-in-Time for the youth league night, a family member confirmed to the Associated Press. Bill was a "man dedicated to his family" who was "always trying to be a funny guy." Aaron was an avid bowler, the AP reported.
Law enforcement has begun searching the river near where the suspect's car was found
State and federal law enforcement have begun searching the area near where the suspect's car was found along the Androscoggin River in Lisbon, Maine.
Mark Latti, director of communications for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, says about 40 people are searching by air, land and water.
Brookfield Renewable Partners, which owns two nearby dams on the river, lowered the water level behind a downstream dam to aid the search — especially from the air.
Latti says they are working to rule out areas where the suspect might be.
At least 3 shooting victims remain in intensive care at Lewiston's hospital
A total of seven patients injured in Wednesday's shootings are still being treated at a local hospital in Lewiston, medical officials told reporters on Friday.
Lisa Gardner, the communications program manager for Central Maine Healthcare, gave reporters the following breakdown, per an account from CNN:
- Three patients are in stable condition.
- Three are in intensive care.
- One patient is expected to be discharged later today.
The Maine Mariners are postponing tonight's hockey match
As Maine residents continue to heed a shelter-in-place warning, the state's ice hockey team is scrapping their plans to play the Adirondack Thunder in Portland on Friday evening.
The Maine Marinersare "heartbroken and devastated" by the "senseless violence," the team said in a statement released Thursday. A makeup date for the game has not yet been announced.
The team ended its statement with a familiar-looking hashtag, #LewistonStrong, which is just the latest variation on the "#[city]strong" mantra that's become a colloquial mainstay as a near-constant drumbeat of mass shootings continue to roil cities and towns, year after year.
The same phrase appeared on a jersey that hung behind the bench of the Boston Bruins game on Thursday evening.
The jersey bore the number 207, a reference to the area code for the region surrounding Lewiston, but it didn't lend the Bruins extra strength on the ice: The team lost 4-3 to the Anaheim Ducks.
On Wednesday, Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown also lent his sports voice to the "Lewiston Strong" chorus, spending his postgame press conference pleading for the U.S. to do something about gun violence — he said he didn't feel like talking about his team's victory against a background of tragedy.
John Mulaney and Pete Davidson rescheduled their weekend shows in Maine
Comedians John Mulaney and Pete Davidson were planning to bring their comedy tour to Maine this weekend but have postponed the two shows in light of the Lewiston shooting.
They were supposed to perform in Portland on Saturday and Bangor on Sunday but announced the change in plans on social media Thursday.
"We are devastated by the events in Lewiston," they wrote. "We are thinking of you all."
How GOP presidential candidates are reacting to the Maine shooting
Some of the Republican 2024 presidential hopefuls have weighed on in the shooting in Maine.
None called for stronger gun control laws, drawing an expected contrast to the recent statements by President Biden, the Democratic incumbent.
Some of the candidates did call for stepping up mental health services, a popular Republican talking point, despite the fact that research shows only a small percentage of violent behavior is connected to mental illness.
Here's what the candidates have said:
The former president called it "a terrible situation" in a post on Truth Social, adding: "It just seems to never end for the USA!"
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
Burgum tweeted that his heart goes out to the community of Lewiston.
"We are praying for the continued safety of those in the area and that the gunman is quickly found and brought to justice," he wrote.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
DeSantis wrote on the social media platform X that he and his wife Casey were shocked to hear the news out of Lewiston.
"While the facts are still coming in, this could be another example of a failure of our nation's mental health system," he said. "We are praying for those injured, the comfort of the families of the victims, and the law enforcement officers who are working to bring this evil individual to justice."
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Responding to news of the shooting, Haley told Fox News that "we need serious law and order, we need to defund sanctuary cities ... we need to acknowledge the cancer in America that is mental health." She said there is an increase in young people suffering from stress and depression, and a shortage of therapists, mental health treatment and addiction treatment centers.
The biotech entrepreneur offered prayers to the victims, their families and law enforcement members in a post on X. He described the suspect as a "deeply sick individual" and went on to argue that the U.S. should "remove these violent, psychiatrically deranged people from their communities and be willing to involuntarily commit them."
"That includes reviving mental health institutions: less reliance on pharmaceuticals, more reliance on faith-based approaches that restore purpose to people's lives," he wrote. "We know from the 1990s how to stop violent crime. The real question is if we have the spine to do it."
Authorities are growing more concerned as time passes, but pledge to apprehend Card
Some 36-plus hours after the shooting, Sauschuck fielded a reporter's question about whether authorities worry the trail is growing cold — and didn't push back.
"I think that every minute that this goes on we're more and more concerned, because what's the next thing that's gonna happen?" he said. "And we understand that, and that's why we're working 24/7 to try to bring this individual to justice and try to bring some closure and overall safety to our community."
But he also expressed confidence that law enforcement can do that.
"There's no question in my mind we'll bring this individual into custody, one way or the other," he added.
Sauschuck also told reporters that only eight of the 18 victims' families have been notified, the same number given at yesterday's briefing.
He deferred a question on what time the police responded to the 911 calls from the scenes, but stressed that such calls are a priority "so everybody's going and they're going as fast as humanly possible."
Police say they found a note related to the shooting, but declined to elaborate on the details
Mike Sauschuck, the commissioner of Maine's Department of Public Safety, is getting into questions now, quickly addressing a handful of reports that surfaced in the media in recent days.
Here's a taste of what's been said:
- Police confirmed that they found a note in one of the residences related to the shooting, but Sauschuck declined to say what it entailed.
- Investigators do not have firm evidence to suggest the suspect's body is in the Androscoggin River where they'll be searching today.
- The company that operates two dams on the river, Brookfield Power, is cooperating with investigators and slowing the currents to help with the search.
- Investigators are corresponding with local leaders to figure out how to safeguard woodsy search sites from hunters, given the season kicks off tomorrow.
- Sauschuck declined to say whether Card's family was cooperating.
- Sauschuck also declined to say whether law enforcement had been notified of warnings about Card's behavior that would've triggered Maine's "yellow flag" law.
Today's search sites will include a river where the suspect's car was found
Officials used a large poster of various aerial maps to highlight areas that investigators will be searching today.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck stressed that the four locations on the poster were by no means an exhaustive list. "It's not mean to be secretive. We'll be all over the place," he said.
One of the locations he focused on was the area near a boat launch where officials found the white Subaru registered to Card.
Sauschuck said helicopters will fly above the Androscoggin River to see — based on visibility — which areas divers should focus on. He said a team of divers will check for evidence, including "potential bodies," using sonar and other technologies.
He said he could envision teams eventually moving inland and to the land on the other side of the river to conduct ground searches. In the meantime, there will be a "line search" in the area near the boat launch of officers looking for evidence along the shoreline.
Sauschuck stressed that investigators have "many irons in the fire." There will be additional officers checking the woodline and collecting any remaining evidence at the bowling alley and restaurant where the shootings took place.
He said all of these efforts will include a "quick reaction force" to maintain security, stressing that there are two overlapping efforts: to apprehend the suspect and to investigate the crime.
Sauschuck also emphasized that just because teams are at a particular location doesn't mean they expect Card to be there too, but they approach those situations as if he could be.
That's why reporters may see teams trying to address Card through bullhorns or surrounding a building, as was the case last night at the home in Bowdoin. Sauschuck said it's standard operating procedure and best practice to give notifications before executing search warrants.
Police set up a digital tip line for information that could help find the suspect
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said officials are still welcoming photos, video, bits of information and "anything you think would be valuable" to assist the search. The FBI sent up a digital tip line at fbi.gov/lewistontips for submitting such information.
Officials are also working to provide mental health resources to the community, and are actively assessing and reassessing the shelter-in-place warnings, which Sauschuck acknowledged could be hard for families to weather.
At the same time, he wanted to temper expectations that any police activity noted in the area should be taken as a sign of hope. If a helicopter is hovering over a building, for example, it doesn't mean the suspect is inside, he said.
"There's a lot of stuff going on here, but what matters to us is the safety of our community, the safety of our residents. We care about each and every one of them," Sauschuck said.
"We're going to continue to fight on their behalf to bring this individual to justice because we know that has an impact on starting the healing process."
Investigators are planning for operations to continue for days
Law enforcement officials appear to be settling in for the long haul, giving reporters a clear outline of what to expect about information sharing moving forward.
Officials are committed to briefing reporters every day at 10 a.m. ET, said Mike Sauschuck, commissioner for the state's Department of Public Safety. They may choose to hold an afternoon briefing if news merits, he added.
Sauschuck said the briefings moving forward will be "more operational" in nature, and if today's is any indication, that might mean more in-depth updates on where and how police continue to search for the suspected gunman.
"There's going to be times when I won't be able to give you all the information you want or need," Sauschuck said, adding that officials make those decisions from an "operational or tactical standpoint."
Police are investigating more than 3,500-plus tips and leads from around the community — and the credibility of these "varies greatly," Sauschuck said. Investigators are also continuing to search both locations of Wednesday night's shooting, a process that is likely to go on for days.
"In order for us to do our jobs, we have to take our time," Sauschuck explained. That means "processing every square inch. ... Every one of those rounds needs to be inspected. Every cartridge needs to be collected."
As a part of that work, law enforcement officers are continuing to draft affidavits for digital media, including phones and computers.
Officials ask the community for patience as they work 'literally around the clock'
Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre said at a Friday morning briefing that law enforcement continues to work on the "rapidly evolving investigation" and stressed that community safety remains paramount.
He underscored how much law enforcement "manpower, time and effort" is being utilized "literally around the clock" to try to apprehend Card and keep the community safe, with officers responding from "literally around this nation."
He thanked the community for its support and asked for its patience, urging people to recognize that "there are many, many moving parts and coordination of efforts involved with multiple agencies."
St. Pierre thanked local businesses, restaurants and individuals for providing meals and other essential items to support those carrying out the investigation. He said details will be forthcoming about counseling services, places to donate and additional vigils.
WATCH: Law enforcement officials provide an update
The press conference is expected to start at 10 a.m. ET
Leaders across New England weigh in on gun laws in the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who represented Newtown in Congress during the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, said he's been in touch with Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to advise them on how to respond to Wednesday night's shooting.
"Having gone through this in Connecticut, it is maddening to watch Maine now have to go through this when we know what works. We know how to solve this," Murphy told Connecticut Public.
Since 2013, Connecticut has also banned the kind of rifle the suspect in Maine allegedly used Wednesday evening. Maine, however, does not.
“Use Connecticut’s law as a model. Use Massachusetts law as a model,” urged Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Byseiwicz.
As WBUR reports, leaders from across Massachusetts have called for action to limit gun violence after Wednesday's shooting.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) posted on X that her "heart breaks" for the Lewiston community.
"It’s long overdue we treat gun violence like the public health crisis that it is," she wrote.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the incident is a reminder of the work that needs to be done to curb gun violence across the region.
NHPR's Mara Hoplamazian reports that as lawmakers gathered at the State House to vote on several unrelated bills Thursday, House Speaker Sherman Packard said, “What happened [in Maine] was horrible,” but not cause for gun reform.
Rep. Bob Lynn, a Republican state representative from Windham, N.H., called the situation in Lewiston “a terrible tragedy” but said it didn’t change his mind about gun policy.
New Hampshire does not have a "yellow flag" law like in Maine, nor does it require concealed carry or open carry permits for people who are legally allowed to possess firearms. The state also does not require a waiting period for gun purchases. There is no minimum age for possessing a gun in New Hampshire, though federal law prohibits anyone under 18 from possessing a handgun (though not rifles or shotguns).
Rep. Allison Knab, a Democrat state representative from Stratham, N.H., said requiring permits for concealed carry and implementing red flag laws could be places to start.
“People always say New Hampshire is really safe because this hasn't happened here,” Knab said. “But it just happened in Maine, you know? So nowhere is safe, I think, from gun violence in this country anymore. And I think we could really do a lot to improve the gun laws we have in our state.”
Police are expected to provide an update on the manhunt this morning
It's been more than 36 hours since police first received calls of an active shooter at the Just-in-Time bowling alley. As morning is settling over the town of Lewiston, Maine, police appear to still be searching for the suspected gunman.
Law enforcement say they'll provide an update on that search during a press conference this morning at 10 a.m. ET.
Want to tune in? Don't go too far — we'll bring you a livestream of the remarks here on this page.
Maine schools and businesses stay closed as the manhunt continues
Schools, municipal offices and businesses in Lewiston were closed Friday while a shelter-in-place order remains in effect.
And school districts beyond Lewiston — Lisbon and Bowdoin — remain closed as well, including those in Portland, Augusta and Waterville.
"There's a lot of businesses that are small and operate on a margin, and losing days of work and sales is impactful, but it's not nearly as impactful as the impact that we're seeing to our employers, to our friends, to our family, to our clients, to our customers," said Shanna Cox, president of the Lewiston Auburn Chamber of Commerce.
It's unclear exactly how many businesses have closed across the state, and how long they would continue to stay closed.
"There's no template for this," said Patrick Woodcock, president of the Maine Chamber of Commerce. "Think everybody is trying to be accommodating for their workers, respect to the situation in Maine, and every Maine business' heart is torn through what occurred in Lewiston and Auburn."
Maine had a false sense of security about gun violence, lawmakers say
Maine is considered the safest state in the nation, according to FBI data on violent crime.
That's despite its notably high rate of gun ownership and relatively permissive gun laws. For example, it doesn't require background checks on all gun sales and has a "yellow flag" law, not the red flag law that many gun control advocates want.
Only Vermont has a higher percentage of gun ownership and a lower firearm death rate than Maine, according to an analysis by WUSA9.
All of that has "lulled people, in a sense, into this feeling that 'Oh, that could never happen here,' " says Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine in Congress.
Pingree told Morning Editionthat it's possible Card's family members would have had more opportunity to keep him away from guns if Maine had a red flag law.
"It's possible there's no law that would have stopped this, except having less guns in our presence, like not having assault weapons like the one that was used in this particular crime," she added.
Pingree said the current Congress is not an easy one to make progress on gun safety legislation, but credited President Biden with "reminding all of us that there is a backlog of gun bills that we need to take up."
And she says not to rule that out completely.
"I've been in Congress for a while, and you never know what the tipping point will be," she says.
Her colleague, Democratic Rep. Jarden Golden of Lewiston, is calling for Congress to pass a ban on assault rifles in the wake of the shooting — reversing his long-held opposition to such bans.
He said Thursday that he'd had a "false confidence" that his community was safe from such deadly incidents, and asked his constituents "for forgiveness and support as I seek to put an end to these terrible shootings."
Pingree commended Golden for going against what she says is the norm for Maine politicians, saying he gives her hope that peoples' minds can be changed. And she says "serious changes" are what's needed right now.
"The first dreaded feeling I had after I heard about the shooting was, 'This conversation will change in my state,' " she says. "Because as long as you think it's not going to happen to you, you can always assume you don't have to make any changes."
A father says his son was killed while charging the shooter
Law enforcement officers have yet to publicly identify the 18 people killed in Wednesday's shooting, but that hasn't stopped some families from publicly sharing the news they've been given — taking to social media to update their friends and neighbors of an unimaginable reality now settling in.
Michael Deslauriers Sr. did it in a Facebook post.
"I have the hardest news for a father to ever have to share," he started. His son, Michael Deslauries II, and his son's friend, Jason Walker, were among the seven people killed at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley.
"They made sure their wives and several young children were under cover then they charged the shooter," he explained.
More than 280 comments sit below the post, each adorned with words like "sympathy," "prayers" and "condolences."
Deslauriers Sr. is connected with a local historical society dedicated to remembering and honoring those who came before them in the town of Sabbatus, which borders Lewiston.
Last month, the group raised a new flag at a local cemetery. They attended an honor guard ceremony at a veteran's grave. The group's Facebook page regularly shared updates about local heroes of years gone by.
On Thursday, a post on the page said one of the two victims, Walker, had often dedicated his time to the group. He had recently helped record video of stories from local senior citizens, posting them to YouTube so their histories wouldn't be forgotten.
The most-forested state in the U.S. is 'a hard place to find somebody,' says a Maine lawmaker
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree represents Maine's First District — which is next to Lewiston — in Congress.
She says not just the surrounding area but much of the state is pretty much on pause, out of both fear and grief.
Schools in her district are closed, and in Portland — Maine's most populous city, where her office is located — "you couldn't buy a cup of coffee on Commercial Street" yesterday because everything was shut down.
"There's nothing more frightening than the idea that someone is out there who's already done a mass killing and still possesses weapons," Pingree told Morning Edition.
She says the search for Card is "all out," with at least 300 law enforcement personnel involved.
She spoke with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland yesterday about the federal officers being sent into the area, which she says include the team that helped locate the Boston Marathon bomber (after a four-day manhunt in 2013).
Pingree says those on the ground include a mix of traditional, small-town police who are used to being in the woods looking for lost hikers and hunters, as well as "the serious professionals from out of town who unfortunately are used to these kinds of searches."
Maine is the most-forested state in the nation, Pingree points out. It is home to some 17.7 million acres of forest.
"It's an easy place to be lost in the woods, and it's a hard place to find somebody," she says.
Authorities are still searching for Card, an Army reservist with a troubled past
Lewiston and the surrounding area are "frozen" as the search for Robert Card continues, NPR's Brian Mann reports.
Mann says stores and restaurants remain closed, schools are shuttered and the streets are mostly empty heading into the Halloween holiday weekend.
Maine authorities have described Card as armed and dangerous and asked residents not to approach him, but to report anything suspicious to 911.
NPR has learned that Card is an Army reservist with a troubled history. Last summer he was at a national guard training facility in New York when officials there became concerned about erratic behavior. They called the police and transported him to a hospital for evaluation.
"What we don't know is how he then wound up back home in Lewiston, heavily armed," Mann tells Morning Edition.
There's a huge local, state and federal effort underway to find out — and to find him.
Maine's legislature tightened gun laws earlier this year. Gun control groups say it's not enough
Earlier this year, in the wake of a separate mass shooting in Bowdoin that killed four people, Maine's state legislature passed a bipartisan measure increasing penalties on "straw purchases" — in which someone buys a firearm for another person who is prohibited from owning one.
But Lynn Ellis, the legislative director for the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, said Maine lawmakers failed to pass several other measures that would have patched major holes in the state's gun control laws.
They include a bill that would close a loophole on background checks and another that would require a 72-hour waiting period between the purchase and sale of a firearm.
"Just this last session, we have said more than once, when we were trying to pass common-sense drills, that isn't a question of if — it's a question of when this tragedy happens in Maine. And, and to just have it happen, there's no solace in that, that we said that," Ellis said. "It's, it's just the reality that we, we knew could happen, because we're not immune, here in Maine, because access to firearms is a real issue."
According to the group Everytown for Gun Safety, Maine is ranked 25th in the country for its laws around gun safety.
While Maine has a relatively low rate of gun deaths and is considered one of the safest states in the country, the group says its gun laws are lacking.
"I'll just be blunt. Maine has weak gun laws compared to other states. And we think that lawmakers have rejected efforts to make them stronger, for far too long," said Matt McTighe of York, and Everytown's Chief Operating Officer.
McTighe specifically highlights Maine's "yellow flag" law, passed by the legislature three years ago.
Unlike More stringent "red flag" laws that allow law enforcement or a family member to petition a judge to temporarily restrict someone's access to guns, Maine's measure only allows law enforcement to take that step.
➡️ Read more about what Maine's gun control groups want to see changed.
This family's grandfather was killed while trying to save those around him. Their grandmother is still missing.
We're starting to learn more details about some of the 18 people killed in Lewiston Wednesday night.
At a news conference Thursday morning, police said they were still trying to identify 10 of the victims. And for families who lost loved ones or who are awaiting word about whether they've survived, the pain is especially acute.
Bob and Lucille Violette, both in their 70s, bowled every week like clockwork, according to their former daughter-in-law, Jessica Dubois of Leeds.
"He runs the youth bowling. He's the one who started it. And Lucy bowls on Wednesdays," Dubois said.
So, Dubois said, when she started seeing Facebook messages Wednesday night about a mass shooting at the Just-in-Time Recreation center in Lewiston, she knew the couple would be there for youth bowling league and she was instantly afraid.
"And I knew, pretty much automatically, that Bob would be one to get shot because he's a hero, he's a protector and a veteran," she said. "So I knew, for sure, that he would throw himself in front of children and his wife."
Dubois said she later learned from her former sister-in-law that Bob had been killed trying to save people around him.
As a devoted coach, she said he wouldn't have hesitated to risk his own life. But, despite the family's desperate search of hospitals, calls to local officials and a visit to a family reunification center in Auburn, they still can't locate Lucille and they don't know what her condition is.
"One of the things that we had heard is that Lucy got shot in the back but we don't have any information on that, so we don't know," she said.
Dubois said the Violettes are kind and gentle people and devoted grandparents to her two kids, ages 13 and 15. And that was another difficult task she's had to contend with: telling both kids the news. She said her daughter confronted her early this morning after finding out there was no school.
"She got up at 6 and she came in and said, what no school today? I said no. She said because of the shooting? And I said yes, and she went into the bathroom and then she came flying back out and said, did grandpa get shot? And I said yes, honey, he did. ... So that was very difficult," Dubois said.
Like so many others in Maine today, Dubois said she and her children are struggling with grief and the frightening revelation that even one of the safest states in America is no longer immune to gun violence on a massive scale.
➡️ Read more about the toll of Wednesday's shootings from Maine Public.
Heeding the shelter-in-place order, mourners gather in online vigils
With a shelter-in-place order still in effect for Androscoggin and parts of Sagadahoc counties, hundreds of people from Maine and neighboring states gathered on Zoom Thursday evening for faith-based vigils to mourn those killed in the Lewiston shootings, and take some comfort in virtual togetherness.
More than 250 participants logged on for a Christian prayer session organized by various church leaders from across Maine.
Rev. Jane Field, with the Maine Council of Churches, offered a prayer calling on God to be with those struggling with "the plague of gun violence."
And she called attention to the particular challenges of mourning such a terrible loss while under a shelter-in-place order.
"Be especially with those in lockdown tonight, who are afraid, who may be alone. Give them a sense of your presence, and plant in them the seed of hope," she said.
Minutes later, nearly one hundred participants logged onto a Muslim community vigil and meeting with participants from Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland and other parts of the state.
Lewiston state rep. Mana Abdi told community members to look out for one other in the days ahead. Speaking as people continued to pop into the Zoom session, she also urged participants to be careful when sharing information.
"And please don't fall into the hysteria of everything. Make sure you're sharing accurate information. Double-check the resources that you are sharing to make sure that we're not giving any false hope to anybody," she said.
➡️ Read more about how Maine is mourning as the manhunt continues.
Here's the latest on the manhunt in Lewiston, Maine
Thanks for joining NPR's digital live coverage.
It's nearly 7 a.m. on Friday in Lewiston, Maine, where police continue to search for a suspect in a pair of shootings that left 18 dead and 13 injured on Wednesday night.
Here's the latest:
A crush of law enforcement officers swarmed the perimeter of the home of suspected gunman Robert Card in Bowdoin, Maine, on Thursday night — more than 24 hours after a mass shooting at a Lewiston bowling alley and restaurant left at least 18 dead and 13 injured.
It was the second time on Thursday that officers descended on the house, which records show is owned by Card.
For about two hours, teams of multi-agency officers, including the FBI, stationed themselves outside of the home, using drones to surveil the property. They also blared "standard search warrant announcements" over a loudspeaker "to ensure the safety of all involved."
"It is unknown whether Robert Card is in any of the homes law enforcement will search," Shannon Moss, a spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a statement on Thursday night.
Meantime, the residents of Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin, which remain under a shelter-in-place order, are balanced between sorrow and fear as authorities continue the statewide search for the 40-year-old.
Authorities are cautioning the public not to approach the suspect under any circumstances and have described him as "armed and dangerous."
➡️ Read NPR's full breaking news story on the manhunt for the Maine shooting suspect.
Celebrities from Maine react to the shooting on social media
Author Stephen King expressed anger over the tragedy he said happened less than 50 miles from his home, and just eight miles from his former high school. He blamed politicians who oppose gun control.
“It’s the rapid-fire killing machines, people. This is madness in the name of freedom. Stop electing apologists for murder,” King wrote in a post on X.
Actor Patrick Dempsey, a Lewiston native, said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the shooting in his hometown that killed at least 18 people and injured 13 others on Wednesday.
“Maine’s great strength is its sense of community, and now we are being asked to come together to support everyone that has been devastated by this senseless act,” he said in an Instagram post.
Lewiston is home to the Dempsey Center, which was founded by the actor to provide care and support for people affected by cancer.
In the wake of the shootings, the center closed its Lewiston and South Portland locations on Thursday.
Police have left the home in Bowdoin
Law enforcement officials have left the home in Bowdoin, Maine, that they had surrounded for several hours.
A first wave of departures began around 8:15 p.m., followed by the remainder about a half hour later.
It was not immediately clear whether suspect Robert Card was present, or whether law enforcement entered the house.
Members of the media had mostly dispersed around 9 p.m.
Police surround Bowdoin home, but it's unclear whether the suspect is inside
Law enforcement officials have descended on the scene of a house on Meadow Road in Bowdoin, Maine, where they have attempted to communicate with the shooting suspect-at-large over loudspeaker.
It wasn’t known whether the suspect, Robert Card, was in the house, according to a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
As the house came under intense media focus, department spokesperson Shannon Moss said in an emailed statement that the loudspeaker announcements being made by law enforcement were standard when executing search warrants.
“Law enforcement officials are simply doing their due diligence by tracking down every lead in an effort to locate and apprehend Card,” Moss said.
Armored vehicles were present, with helicopters overhead and drones in use.
Maine shooting suspect was never official Army firearms instructor, Army says
The suspect in the Lewiston, Maine, shootings was never an official U.S. Army firearms instructor, the Army confirmed, clarifying earlier media reports that had cited state law enforcement.
Several media outlets reported that a notice from the Maine Information and Analysis Center that was circulating among state police said the suspect, Robert Card, is a trained firearms instructor and is believed to be a member of the Army reserve.
Sgt. 1st Class Card is indeed in the Army Reserve, according to the Army.
But if Card is a trained firearms instructor, he did not train for that in the Army, according to a spokesperson for the military branch.
“The Army did not train SFC Card as a firearms instructor, nor did he serve in that capacity for the Army,” an Army spokesperson Bryce Dubee said in a statement shared with NPR.
Rep. Jared Golden calls for a ban of assault rifles, reversing position
Democratic Rep. Jared Golden reversed his opposition to banning assault rifles at a news conference on Thursday evening.
“The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles,” Golden said. “I ask for forgiveness and support.”
Lewiston shooting is Maine's deadliest mass shooting in recent history
Wednesday's shootings, which have left 18 people killed and 13 injured, mark the deadliest mass shooting in Maine in recent history, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
Since 1972, when the organization began tracking the incidents, the state has seen four other mass shootings, with the first one occurring in 2014. The GVA defines a mass shooting as an incident where four or more are shot, not including the shooter, at the same general time and location.
Despite the state’s relatively weak gun laws, homicides in Maine are uncommon. Yet two of the state’s deadliest mass shootings so far happened this year, spurring gun control advocates to push for stronger restrictions.
In April, a 34-year-old gunman killed four people, including his parents, in the small town of Bowdoin, and injured three others in nearby Yarmouth.
3 shooting victims are in critical condition, 5 are stable at Lewiston hospital
Officials at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston say they're currently caring for eight patients wounded in the mass shooting Wednesday night.
Chief medical officer John Alexander said on Thursday afternoon that five patients are stable, and three are in critical condition.
In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, Alexander said the hospital took in 14 patients within 45 minutes.
"We had approximately 50 providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, working tirelessly on the patients we were seeing here. At one point, we had seven patients in our OR's," Alexander said.
He said the severity of the injuries are unprecedented for the hospital. Three patients died. One was transferred to Maine Medical Center and has since been discharged. Another was transferred St. Mary's Regional Medical Center. Alexander declined to release information about the ages of the patients.
A Jamaican restaurant is giving free food to first responders
Jeff's Jamaican Cuisine, a restaurant in Lewiston, is feeding first responders for free.
"On behalf of Lewiston and the entire state of Maine. THANK YOU!" employees wrote on Facebook. "Stop by and have a light lunch on us."
They included a picture of a white board with a menu, offering Jamaican patties and coco bread, beef, curry chicken and a veggie option.
NPR's Brian Mann, who is on the scene in Lewiston, reports their offer extends to journalists too.
A pastor describes the moment his congregation's phones started ringing
Last night's shooting has left 18 people dead, 13 others injured and an entire community in shock.
Maine Public's Nick Song spoke to one resident about the moment word began to spread:
As the senior pastor for Calvary Chapel Lewiston-Auburn, Aaron Davis was leading a Bible study session Wednesday evening when the phones of a few congregation members began to ring.
"We have quite a few of our members that come out of a certain residential treatment program," he explained. "Members of that house — good, good friends of theirs — they were actually part of this bowling league that was happening last night. They were getting phone calls letting them know their friends were there, they barely got away, they were hiding behind trees at the time."
A shelter-in-place order remains in effect for Androscoggin and northern Sagadahoc counties as the manhunt for the shooter continues.
American Red Cross experiencing increased blood donation interest in New England
People across Maine and New England are seeking to donate blood to help victims in the mass shooting at multiple locations in Lewiston on Wednesday night.
In a statement via email, regional communications director Jennifer Costa said the American Red Cross is experiencing an outpouring of support from the community.
"We are experiencing increased blood donation interest in New England as people look for a way to help," Costa said. "The Red Cross has appointments available to potential donors in the upcoming week. Those interested in donating can visit RedCrossBlood.org and make an appointment. Please know the system operates in real time – and appointment availability is constantly changing."
The bowling alley says it lost 'some amazing and whole hearted people'
Just-In-Time Recreation, one of two locations targeted by the shooter on Wednesday night, said in a Facebook post that "none of this seems real, but unfortunately it is."
"We lost some amazing and whole hearted people from our bowling family and community last night," the post read.
Authorities say one female and six males were found dead at the bowling alley, all from apparent gunshot wounds.
"There are no words to fix this or make it better," the post said, adding that those affiliated with the company are praying for everyone affected by the tragedy.
The shooter went from the bowling alley to Schemengees Bar & Grille, a restaurant some four miles away, where he killed eight males — seven outside and one inside.
"In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason," Schemengees wrote on Facebook earlier today. "We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this."
New Hampshire sends SWAT team, victim advocates and other resources to Maine
New Hampshire officials say they are continuing to offer support on multiple fronts, including sending a SWAT team to assist Maine, as authorities continue to search for the suspect in the shooting. Robert Card, 40, is still at large.
The New Hampshire Department of Justice said it will send three victims advocates to Maine to assist local families affected by the shooting.
New Hampshire Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn urged residents to “stay vigilant” and report any suspicious activity to local police or 911.
A timeline of the mass shooting in Lewiston
Currently there are over 350 law enforcement personnel from across the state involved in the search for Card, in addition to national agencies.
Officials are requesting for anyone with any information on Robert Card or about the shootings please call 207.213.9526 or 207.509.9002.
Bates College postpones inauguration of its first Black president
Bates College in Lewiston was supposed to inaugurate its new president on Friday, but the highly anticipated event has been postponed indefinitely as a result of the mass shooting.
Garry Jenkins, who took office in July, was set to be installed as the college's ninth president — and first Black president — in a ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The school shared a video of chairs lined up in a gymnasium late Wednesday afternoon, writing on X: "We are filled with anticipation for Friday's festivities!"
The stage is (nearly) set for the Inauguration of Garry W. Jenkins as the ninth president of Bates College. We are filled with anticipation for Friday's festivities!— Bates College (@BatesCollege) October 25, 2023
Learn more about President Jenkins, the ceremony, and how you can watch live at https://t.co/5vBuJnsWA1 pic.twitter.com/sQPX2LCDpo
Police received reports of an active shooter at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley less than two hours later. The campus has been on lockdown ever since.
Jenkins informed the community on Thursday that the inauguration and all related events will be postponed to a later date.
He said one college employee was injured in the shooting and is expected to make a full recovery, and that "to the best of our knowledge" two students were near one of the crime scenes but unharmed.
The administration said classes will be cancelled again on Friday. If the lockdown lifts overnight, they said, classes will not be held "so that we can be together in community and to support one another."
Many people reposted the inauguration video on X, noting that what was supposed to be a joyous weekend is now a time for mourning.
"Events like these are supposed to be fun," wrote author Eric Michael Garcia. "Instead this will be associated with the worst day of some people’s lives."
Off-duty medical workers rushed into a Lewiston hospital to help with last night's shooting
A top medical official for Central Maine Medical Center told reporters earlier today that a team of more than 50 medical staff, including off-duty personnel, rushed in to assist an influx of patients in the minutes and hours after Wednesday's mass shooting.
A total of 14 patients were admitted to the hospital network, according to Dr. John Alexander, the Chief Medical Officer there.
"Its been a very challenging 16 hours. We've had heroic efforts by team members," Alexander said.
The first patient arrived at 7:24 p.m. ET — 28 minutes after police received the first 911 call about an active shooter at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley.
A total of eight patients still remain at the facility, Alexander said. Five of the patients were in stable condition and three were listed as critical as of 11:30 a.m. ET.
The Maine Medical Center, located roughly 30 miles south of Lewiston in Portland, said overnight that it'd received one transfer patient from Central Maine Hospital. Maine Medical Center also closed its doors to non-hospital personnel and non-patients as police issued shelter-in-place warnings for the area.
Maine State Police Col. William Ross said earlier in the day that of the 18 victims, three had died after being transported to local hospitals.
"(This) is something that I don't want us to get used to"
Wendy Hart, who is visiting Maine from Lebanon, Tenn., said she was heartbroken when she woke up to the news that a man shot and killed at least 18 people on Wednesday night.
“Nashville just went through this with an elementary school,” Hart said. “It's kind of shocking, and it's something that I don't want us to get used to and it gets brushed under the rug.”
Lewiston looked abandoned on Thursday morning, with desolate parking lots outside the Shaw's supermarket and the Lewiston Mall as a helicopter circled overhead.
Harris urges Congress to tighten gun control laws
Vice President Harris called on Congress to pass tougher gun control laws after the Maine mass shooting.
"Congress can and must make background checks universal. Pass red flag laws. Ban high-capacity magazines. And renew the assault weapons ban," Harris said in a statement.
Harris oversees a new White House office that is looking for ways to prevent gun violence.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the office is in touch with officials in Maine and will look for resources to help the community respond to the tragedy.
The office is looking for other executive actions that the Biden administration can take on gun violence, but big changes would require legislative changes from Congress, Jean-Pierre said.
Harris nodded to Australia's tough gun control laws at a luncheon with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday.
After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia banned automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and had a buyback program that took about 650,000 guns back from people.
"It does not have to be this way, as our friends in Australia have demonstrated," Harris said.
L.L. Bean closes its stores and corporate HQ, citing abundance of caution
Clothing and outdoor retailer L.L. Bean, which is based in Maine, says it is closing its Freeport-based stores on Thursday "out of an abundance of caution."
Freeport is just under 20 miles south of Lewiston.
L.L. Bean said its Lewiston and Brunswick manufacturing facilities, order fulfillment center, returns building, photo studio and corporate headquarters will also be closed, calling the health and safety of their employees and customers its top priority.
"Maine is more than just a place to us; it’s our home, our community, and our family," it wrote on Facebook. "Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy in our beloved state. We urge all of our neighbors to stay safe and look out for one another while we process these events together."
Major banks in Maine are closed
Several major banks in Maine are closing their locations in Lewiston and the surrounding areas and converting the rest to drive-through only.
Camden National Bank says its banking centers in Lewiston, Auburn, Topsham, Brunswick Cooks Corner, Brunswick Maine Street, Richmond and Bath are closed on Thursday. Its other locations are drive-up only.
Bangor Savings Bank says its Lewiston, Auburn and Brunswick branches are closed on Thursday. The rest of its locations vary but are either closed or drive-up only.
TD Bank is also temporarily closing its 39 branches as well as its Maine offices, it told CNN.
The shooting suspect was removed from a military training camp for 'behaving erratically'
The New York National Guard confirmed to NPR that the suspect in Wednesday's shootings, Robert Card, was removed from a military training camp in July after he was seen "behaving erratically."
Here's the full statement that was sent to NPR:
On July 16, 2023, leaders of the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment, which was billeted at the Camp Smith Training Site while training at the United States Military Academy, informed garrison staff that Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Robert Card was behaving erratically. Out of concern for his safety, the unit requested that law enforcement be contacted.
New York State Police responded and transported Card to Keller Army Community Hospital at the United States Military Academy for medical evaluation.
A spokesperson for the National Guard said he could not yet confirm what happened after Card was admitted for evaluation.
With shooting suspect still at large, Maine colleges remained closed Thursday
As of Thursday morning, students at Bates College were still being instructed to shelter in place, as the suspect in the 18 shooting deaths remained at large.
Bates’ 133-acre campus lies between the two locations targeted in the shootings, a bowling alley and a restaurant in Maine's second-largest city.
Anntonia Taylor, a Bates senior and Lynnfield native, sheltered for 13 hours in a dance studio before being moved back to her dorm by campus emergency management services. She spoke Thursday morning with WBUR's Radio Boston.
"I've been to that bowling alley with my friends and I've walked past that bar and just, these places that are so real and so connected to Bates," Taylor told Radio Boston. "It's shocking, and upsetting. I'm just trying to understand it all."
Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown spent his postgame conference condemning gun violence
Even after the Sacramento Kings beat the Utah Jazz at their season opener last night, coach Mike Brown didn't want to talk about basketball.
Brown, the 2023 NBA Coach of the Year, opened and closed his postgame press conference by acknowledging the tragedy in Lewiston and pleading for things to change.
He said he heard about the mass shooting after the game and started by saying, "I'm not that smart, but I know we as a country got to do something."
He repeatedly called it a sad day for the country.
"And until we decide to do something about it, the powers that be, this is gonna keep happening," Brown said. "And our kids aren't gonna be able to enjoy what the United States is about, because we don't know how to fix a problem that's right in front of us. Sad."
Brown said he feels for the families, and repeatedly said he didn't know what else to say. After a little over three minutes, he said he didn't feel like talking about sports.
"We played a game. It was fun. Obviously, we won," he said, visibly distressed. "But if we can't do anything to fix this, it's over. It's over. It's over for our country, for this to happen time after time."
Then he walked away.
Who is Robert Card? The suspect is an Army reservist with extensive experience
Police search teams in Maine are on a manhunt to find 40-year-old Robert Card, who faces multiple arrest warrants for murder in the mass shooting Wednesday night.
Card is considered "armed and dangerous" and should not be approached if spotted, police said.
Here’s what we know so far about Card:
Robert R. Card II was born in Maine, in April 1983, according to public records. His most recent address is listed in Bowdoin, just east of Lewiston. He graduated from high school in 2001 and attended the University of Maine.
Card owns a 2013 Subaru Outback; a white car matching that description was found near a boat dock in the nearby town of Lisbon.
A search of public records found no criminal records for the suspected killer.
In a Facebook post, the Lewiston Police Department released what appeared to be a driver's license picture of Card. He appears to be the same person shown in surveillance images from the bowling alley, wearing a brown sweatshirt and carrying an AR-style long gun.
Card has extensive military experience, having enlisted in December 2002, the U.S. Army told NPR.
Card “is a petroleum supply specialist in the Army Reserve,” a service spokesperson said. “He has no combat deployments.”
Card has obtained the rank of sergeant first class, which is above a staff sergeant and below a master sergeant.
“His awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal x2, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon,” the army representative said.
The Associated Press and other outlets are reporting that Card suffered from mental health issues, citing a law enforcement bulletin. NPR has not been able to independently verify those reports.
Experts say Maine's mass shooting stands out because of its lengthy manhunt
The manhunt for Lewiston shooting suspect Robert Card is different from others in the U.S. because of its duration and fluid nature. That's according to Jaclyn Schildkraut, a national expert on mass shootings at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.
"I think what's different about what is being experienced in Maine ... it's very rare for this type of thing to go this length of time. We've seen other cases where perpetrators have been able to escape the scene, but it was an hour or two hours when they were apprehended," she said.
Speaking Thursday on Maine Calling, Maine Public's daily call-in show, Schildkraut said at a time like this, residents should lean into one another to talk about their feelings and find "warm" connections. She also said Maine's Crisis Line is also available to provide support. That number is 1-888-568-1112.
U.S. Sen. Angus King: 'This isn't Maine'
U.S. Sen. Angus King is back in his home state of Maine today following Wednesday night's deadly mass shooting in Lewiston.
Appearing Thursday morning on Maine Calling, Maine Public's daily call-in show, King said the violence strikes at the heart of Maine's identity.
"We have one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country and one of the lowest rates of gun crimes, and now in one awful night one person has turned that around. I think an important part of the message is this isn't Maine. This isn't consistent with who we are, or who we have been or who we will be," he said.
King says everyone is anxious for the suspect to be found, so that Mainers can move from fear to grieving.
What kind of gun laws does Maine have?
“Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned,” Maine’s state constitution says.
And that about sums it up: In Maine, people age 21 and over don’t need to get a permit before buying, possessing or carrying a rifle like the one reportedly used in the Lewiston mass shooting.
Like most places, minors are also able to get their hands on guns. Hours before Wednesday's shooting, Lewiston police arrested a 17-year-old with a loaded pistol with a large-capacity drum magazine, who was driving without a license.
Everytown, the gun control advocacy group, ranks Maine squarely in the middle of U.S. states for the strength of its gun laws. One of the state’s few restrictions on gun owners is a secure storage law, meant to keep firearms away from children.
"In 2015, Maine enacted a permitless carry law,” the NRA says in its summary of the state’s firearm laws.
Worth noting: Those speaking out against that law in 2015 included then-Portland Police Chief Mike Sauschuck, who is now the state’s public safety commissioner and is leading efforts to investigate the Lewiston killings and prevent more violence.
"From our perspective, laws and rules and regulations are really made to mitigate risk and not eliminate risk," Sauschuck said in 2015, speaking on behalf of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.
Despite its relatively weak gun laws, Maine doesn’t generally have many gun homicides.
In a normal year, Maine loses far more people to suicides — which make up the vast majority of gun deaths in the state — than to homicide. Maine has been in the top half of U.S. states with the most suicide deaths per capita, according to the most recent data from the CDC.
More on the state's gun laws from Maine Public:
- In April, gun control advocates and opponents turned out in large numbers to testify on proposals to expand Maine's background check requirement and to require buyers to wait 72 hours before taking possession of a firearm.
- Maine's "yellow flag" law could be a model for gun control, but legal experts say it has limitations.
President Biden urged Congress (again) to tighten gun laws
President Biden on Thursday urged people in Maine to heed the warnings of local officials after the mass shooting there and expressed sympathy for the victims and the community.
He also urged Republicans in Congress to tighten gun laws — as he has after many major mass shootings this year.
"For countless Americans who have survived gun violence and been traumatized by it, a shooting such as this reopens deep and painful wounds. Far too many Americans have now had a family member killed or injured as a result of gun violence. That is not normal, and we cannot accept it," Biden said in a statement.
"Today, in the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers," the statement continues.
Biden has taken executive action on guns and signed into law last year the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in roughly three decades.
But any new gun control legislation is likely to face a familiar uphill battle in a divided Congress.
Supermarkets, schools and municipal buildings in the area remain closed
Hannaford, the Maine-based supermarket chain that kept all of its stores closed statewide until 10 a.m. ET, has reopened most of its locations outside of the area of the manhunt.
It said on Facebook that the following stores will remain closed until further notice: Auburn; Brunswick (Cooks Corner); Brunswick (Elm Street); Gray; Lewiston; Mechanic Falls; Topsham; Turner and Yarmouth.
"Our stores will continue to follow all shelter-in-place advisories and guidance from law enforcement," the company added. "We are closely monitoring this evolving situation and will provide updates as needed."
Public schools, college campuses and municipal buildings in southern Maine and the surrounding areas remain closed as the search for the suspect continues.
Officials confirm Robert Card is a suspect but won't speculate on his motives
Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck declined to answer reporters' questions about Robert Card's weapon, mental health history or possible motive, saying it's too early in the investigation to have those answers, given that the shooting suspect is still at large.
But Sauschuck says those are all things officials will be following up on.
He clarified that Card, who has until now been referred to as a person of interest, is viewed as a suspect now that there are arrest warrants for him on murder charges.
He also declined to elaborate on the ages of the victims, saying that information wasn't immediately available. Responding to a question about whether DNA is being collected for victim identification, Sauschuck said efforts to identify victims and notify their families vary on a case-by-case basis.
He also wouldn't go into detail on why law enforcement officials are targeting particular search areas today, saying only that they are searching actively.
"If I knew the answers to those questions this would be a different press conference," he said.
FBI says it will work 'day and night' to get answers for the community
Jodi Cohen, the FBI special agent in charge of the Boston Division — which oversees the state of Maine — described the investigation as "very active."
She said the FBI is working with its law enforcement partners to process evidence from the scenes as well as provide investigative, tactical and victim support.
The FBI is asking the public to stay vigilant and come forward with any information that might be helpful to investigators.
Cohen promised that the FBI will carry out the case with rigor: "We will work day and night alongside our law enforcement partners to get the answers to the questions this community deserves."
Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck added that when the officials have asked federal officials and other states for any resources, "the answer has been yes. Period."
Maine State Police says 8 of the 18 victims have been identified
Maine State Police Col. William Ross offered an update on the details of last night's shooting, including a timeline of events and what's known about the victims.
He told reporters that police first received reports of an active shooter at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley at 6:56 p.m. ET Wednesday.
At 7:08 p.m., police received multiple 911 calls about an active shooter inside the Schemengees Bar & Grille. Multiple law enforcement teams joined the scene at this point.
Ross offered the following breakdown of what's known about the victims:
- One female and six males were found dead at the bowling alley, all from apparent gunshot wounds.
- Eight males were killed at the bar — seven outside the establishment; one inside.
- Three people died after being transferred to area hospitals for treatment.
- Eight of the 18 victims have been identified and their next of kin have been notified.
Ross said police have issued an arrest warrant for eight counts of murder. He said the counts were likely to increase as more victims are identified.
The person of interest, Robert Card, is still considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached, Ross said.
Today's press conference will be brief since the manhunt is ongoing, officials say
Commissioner for Maine Department of Public Safety Mike Sauschuck says this morning's news conference will be brief because the suspect remains at large.
"We want to provide community support for the victims, for the families and communities across the state, but we also have an incredibly strong, laser-like focus on bringing this suspect into custody and ultimately into justice," he added.
He said many local elected and law enforcement officials wanted to participate in the briefing, but they are keeping the list and agenda short in pursuit of that goal. He said the state police would share more details on last night's timeline and their FBI partners would talk about federal efforts, before officials take brief questions from reporters.
Maine officials say 18 people were killed and 13 injured in last night's shooting
Maine Gov. Janet Mills said at a Thursday press conference that 18 people were killed and another 13 injured in the shootings last night in Lewiston.
She said she and President Biden have ordered all U.S. and Maine flags lowered to half-staff immediately for five days in their honor.
Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin remain under a shelter-in-place order as law enforcement continue searching for Robert Card, whom Mills named as a person of interest and described as armed and dangerous. People should not approach him under any circumstances, she added.
She said all of Maine's 1.3 million residents are sharing in the sorrow of people who lost loved ones.
"This is a dark day for Maine," she said. "I know it's hard for us to think about healing when our hearts our 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."
Biden has ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff through Monday
President Biden has ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House, all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations and all on U.S. naval vessels — as well as U.S. embassies, consular offices and other facilities abroad — until sunset on Monday.
He said he was doing so "as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated ... in Lewiston, Maine."
The U.S. flies its flags at half-staff when the state or a nation is in mourning.
Two women search for their nephew, missing since last night
LEWISTON, Maine — Kelly Mitchell and Kathy Nelson were outside in Lewiston, Maine, Thursday morning, near the site of the continuing manhunt. They were trying to find their missing nephew, whom they identified as Joshua Seal of Lisbon Falls, Maine.
They believe he was at a bar and grill where a gunman opened fire late Wednesday. They’ve texted and attempted to reach his cell phone, but haven’t heard from him.
The women said their sister had asked for help after failing to make contact with her son overnight.
“She can’t find him,” Nelson said. “She’s been up all night trying, looking at the hospitals, calling everybody.”
They said he hadn’t turned up for work today. Seals, who is hearing impaired, works as an interpreter for government officials, including Maine's governor.
“He’s not there and nobody knows where he is,” Mitchell said. “He’s a great young man, he has a wife and children at home and they’re at home waiting for him.”
Mitchell and Nelson said they were struggling to get information from police. They said they believe Seal had gone to the bar to play cornhole with friends.
“It’s craziness. It’s just tragic. It makes you think,” Mitchell said. “We’re just all trying to support one another at this point, trying to find answers.”
Lisbon, Maine, police chief says the manhunt is very actively underway
A group of reporters stopped Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee for an impromptu interview on the active manhunt just a few minutes ago.
McGee said the search was very much underway and appealed to local residents to be in touch with any suspicious sightings.
“If you look out in your yard, and you're like, that door wasn't open or that trailer wasn't positioned that way — if you see anything suspicious, please call us," McGee said.
He told CNN earlier this morning that his entire department was out searching, chasing lead after lead.
"We've had everything from people calling about, you know, noises in the basement, noises in the woods, suspicious people, gunshots, all night long since the incident in Lewiston,” McGee said.
Police in Lisbon shared a photo last night of a white SUV, which is believed to belong to the "person of interest" still at large.
Maine State Police are expected to deliver another press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET.
The mayor of neighboring Auburn says 'We will all get strength from each other'
Jason Levesque, the mayor of the town of Auburn, Maine — the nearby sister city of Lewiston — says the mood this morning is "eerily quiet and filled with darkness and sadness."
He told Morning Edition that a shelter-in-place order remains in effect throughout the county, schools are canceled, few cars are on the road and there's a heavy law enforcement presence throughout the area.
Levesque, who was helping reunify families and provide support at the Auburn Middle School, says at this point the reunifications and "the notifications are ongoing." He says people should not come to the middle school with the hope of finding news.
"Stay tight, stay at home. That's the most important thing right now," he said. "We still have an active investigation with a suspect on the loose. We have to understand that's a priority at this point, bringing this individual into custody hopefully very swiftly and severely, and then we can worry about other things as they manifest."
He says the Auburn-Lewiston area is a tight community — they share the bowling alley, and Schemengees Bar & Grille is the place people go to play cornhole and pool and have a nice meal — and what it's going through right now is surreal.
"Every mayor thinks about it when we watch TV and we see something similar to what happened here last night happen in some other part of the country, and we ask ourselves what would we do in that situation?" he says.
Levesque, who is an Army veteran, says there's no amount of talk, training or observation that can prepare someone for this:
"The only thing I have to say is: You will get your strength from your community, and law enforcement professionals — who do train and have been acting extremely professionally and efficiently through this. So we all will get strength from each other."
Hannaford supermarkets are closed throughout the state
The Hannaford supermarket chain says all of its Maine locations will be closed through at least 10 a.m. ET, "following all shelter in place advisories and guidance from law enforcement."
The Maine-based company said in a Facebook post that any store that did open prior to receiving communication is "in the process of transitioning people out of the store."
"This is an evolving situation that requires sensitivity and flexibility, and we’ll provide updates as soon as possible," it said, adding that it was "deeply saddened and horrified by the tragic events in Lewiston" and keeping thoughts and prayers with its associates and community members.
Hannaford has nearly 60 stores in Maine, including one in Lewiston and one in neighboring Auburn, according to its website.
Police dispatch audio reveals how one active shooting call expanded into multiple locations
The first report of an active shooting came in at 6:56 p.m. ET from a bowling alley on the north side of Lewiston, Maine. The police dispatch was captured on radio, and shared on Broadcastify.com.
"What do they got?" an officer's voice can be heard asking. "A shooter … at the bowling place," replies the dispatcher.
Soon police got news of another mass shooting at a restaurant and police started shutting down bars in the area and telling residents to take shelter.
People at a Walmart reported seeing two men brandishing a gun outside the store, and employees sheltered in the cold storage area, the audio shows, though law enforcement officials haven't confirmed this detail.
At another point, the dispatcher can be heard saying that federal officials were checking in:
"I have Homeland Security on the line, they’re wondering if you want their assistance or are you all set?"
Police are searching a road along the Androscoggin River
LEWISTON, Maine — Active searching is underway at 9 a.m. ET in an area of Lewiston along the Androscoggin River.
Police have cordoned off Lincoln Street, about a mile from Schemengees Bar & Grill. A helicopter is flying overhead.
Streets in Lewiston are otherwise mostly empty while residents observe the shelter-in-place order.
Maine had 29 homicides in all of 2022
This mass shooting will send Maine’s homicide rate soaring: The state had 29 homicides in all of 2022, and while the precise death toll in Lewiston isn’t yet known, all of the reported figures are tragically high.
As of now, The Associated Press is reporting that at least 16 people were killed in the shooting in Lewiston; other reports suggest that some 20 people died. Police are expected to release more information at a news conference later this morning.
Last year, three of the murders in Maine took place in Lewiston — all of them involving single killings, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Correction: An earlier headline on this post said the number of homicides was 22.
Why are there so many different death tolls out there?
The Associated Press is reporting that "at least 16" are dead from Wednesday night's shootings. CNN is citing that number on its Chyrons, but was reporting "at least 22" just a few hours ago. The Washington Post, citing the local county sheriff, is reporting "seven victims at the first location."
You've probably noticed that NPR is not reporting a number yet, instead citing Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck, who said only that there were "multiple casualties" during Wednesday's shooting. When pressed, Sauschuck said the numbers were "all over the map."
Sauschuck said the shootings took place at 6:56 p.m. ET, about 13 hours ago, meaning this is still very much a developing story, and some things reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong.
NPR is focusing on reports from law enforcement officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We're committed to bringing you accurate updates as the situation develops in real time.
The next police briefing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET
Maine State Police said early Thursday that they're planning their next news conference with law enforcement for 10:30 a.m ET.
A news conference is scheduled at 10:30 am today at Lewiston City Hall. Please tune into your local TV station's social media and or websites for live streams.— Maine State Police (@MEStatePolice) October 26, 2023
Keep this page handy: We'll bring you live updates and share a livestream.
President Biden and other federal officials have been briefed on the shootings
President Biden has been briefed on the shootings and has spoken to a variety of government officials in Maine, including Gov. Janet Mills, Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, and Rep. Jared Golden.
Biden has offered "full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack," according to a statement shared by the White House last night.
The Justice Department is also monitoring the situation and offering assistance to state and local law enforcement.
"The Attorney General has been briefed and will continue to closely monitor the situation. Federal law enforcement agencies are assisting our state and local law enforcement partners in Lewiston, Maine," a department spokesperson said in a statement shared with NPR.
The sun is rising in Lewiston, Maine, where residents are still sheltering in place
The sun is rising in southern Maine, where hundreds of police are still searching frantically for a man they're describing as a "person of interest" connected to last night's shooting.
Police have asked people to stay off the roads to give emergency responders easier access to hospitals. The City of Lewiston has said that all municipal buildings will be closed for the day. The Lewiston Public School system canceled classes, sparking dozens of schools across the state to do the same, according to reporting from local news station WGME.
Several of those schools are located in Portland, Maine — about 30 miles from the town of Lewiston where the shootings unfolded.
The police search also expanded overnight to the nearby town of Lisbon, where police said they discovered a car belonging to the person of interest. Police have also issued shelter-in-place warnings for the hometown of the person of interest: Bowdoin, roughly 15 miles east of Lewiston.
The hospital system in Portland, Maine, is closed to visitors as it treats shooting victims
Maine Medical Center, the hospital system in Portland, said overnight that it had alerted on-call staff and created critical care and operating room capacity in anticipation of potential patient transports.
In an emailed statement to local media, the organization said, "At this time, MMC can confirm it will receive one patient transport from Central Maine Medical Center."
"Other MaineHealth facilities are also standing by and preparing to provide care. Out of an abundance of caution and due to the dynamic nature of this situation, MMC and other MaineHealth hospitals have closed their campuses to non-hospital personnel and non-patients until further notice."
One of the shooting sites just posted to their Facebook page
Schemengees Bar & Grille, one of at least two sites targeted in last night's shootings, posted this message to its Facebook page:
"My heart is crushed. I am at a loss for words. In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason. We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this. Sending out prayers to everyone."
It's still unclear whether Schemengees was targeted before or after the other location — a local bowling alley named Just-In-Time Recreation. (You may be seeing some media referring to the bowling alley referred to by its previous name, Sparetime).
Here's the latest on the shootings and manhunt in Lewiston, Maine
Thanks for joining NPR's digital live coverage.
It's nearly 7 a.m. on Thursday in Lewiston, Maine, where overnight shootings sent the region into lockdown as police search for a "person of interest."
Here's what we've reported so far:
A manhunt is underway for a man who is considered a "person of interest" following a series of mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, that left "multiple casualties," officials said Wednesday night.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said during a Wednesday night news conference that 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin, Maine, should be considered armed and dangerous and that his car had been found in the nearby town of Lisbon.
Sauschuck said there have been multiple casualties, but declined to give a number of those killed and injured, saying the numbers "are all over the map." Sauschuck said the shootings began at 6:56 p.m. ET.
In a Facebook post, the Lewiston Police Department released what appeared to be a driver's license picture of Card. He appears to be the same person shown in surveillance images wearing a brown sweatshirt and carrying an AR-style long gun as he entered a bowling alley in an earlier photo released by authorities.
The department said members of the public should contact law enforcement if they have more information about his whereabouts.
A shelter-in-place order remains in effect for Androscoggin County, Maine, as authorities search for the suspect in Wednesday's shootings. Previously, the police had instructed people to stay inside with doors locked, citing a "manhunt in the area."
The Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston said it had been responding to a "mass casualty, mass shooter event," and is coordinating with area hospitals to take in patients.
Lewiston police say the target of the manhunt is connected to shootings in at least two locations — including Schemengees Bar & Grille, and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley. It is unclear which location was attacked first. It is also not known how many shots were fired in each place.
➡️ Read NPR's full breaking news story on the shootings in Lewiston, Maine.