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A Mixed Sense of Relief and Grief as Maine Community Resumes Normalcy Following Discovery of Deceased Shooting Suspect

by Andrew Wright
8 comments
Maine Shooting Aftermath

A palpable wave of relief, tinged with enduring sorrow, washed over central Maine this past Saturday upon learning that the individual responsible for a two-day killing spree had been discovered dead.

For two days, residents of Lewiston and nearby areas had been under directives to remain indoors, following the violent acts attributed to Robert Card. Authorities reported that Card had opened fire at a bowling alley and later at a bar, resulting in the deaths of 18 individuals and injuring an additional 13. His body was subsequently located on Friday at a recycling facility in the adjacent town of Lisbon.

With the lifting of the lockdown, numerous residents ventured outside to savor the pleasant autumn weather. Jim Howaniec, a native of Lewiston and former mayor in the early 1990s, remarked, “Now, the community can start the process of healing and grieving. While the incident lasted 48 hours, the emotional toll felt more like 48 years.”

The episode elicited painful memories for some, like Melissa Brown, who recalled living in Washington, D.C. during a three-week sniper attack in October 2002 that claimed 10 lives. “The recent events resurrected those traumatic emotions, now transferred to this new home of ours,” said Brown. She mentioned that resuming outdoor activities felt liberating, yet she lamented the ongoing sense of tragedy. “While we aim to regain a sense of normalcy, our hearts remain burdened for all those affected.”

As a token of communal support, a family from southern Maine spent Saturday afternoon distributing flowers to strangers in downtown Lewiston. Some recipients politely refused, while others reciprocated with embraces. Gabe Hirst, a 21-year-old from Gray, said, “If even one person’s day is improved, then the effort is fully justified.”

Christal Pele, a local educator, expressed uncertainty about how to address the incident with her students when school resumes. She noted that while the calamity had engendered a newfound sense of community, a mournful atmosphere continues to pervade the locality.

This sentiment was echoed in an anonymous note left on a café table, stating, “We Love You Lewiston. It’s OK to not be OK.”

As residents cautiously reclaim public spaces, the return to normal life is complicated, particularly for those who either lost family members or were eyewitnesses to the attacks. A scheduled community Halloween event at a local armory was repurposed as a family assistance center.

Tammy Asselin, who was present during the bowling alley shooting and sustained injuries in the ensuing chaos, stated that although she felt relief at Card’s demise, the loss of potential insights into his actions brought its own form of sorrow. “We are now embarking on a healing journey, a challenging path, but one that I believe will ultimately make us stronger,” she said.

William Brackett, Sr., who lost his son in the tragedy, spoke of a gradual reduction in his initial anger. “The threat has been eliminated, and this brings me some solace. Yet, full recovery is an elusive goal.”


Reporting was contributed from Concord, New Hampshire by Ramer, with additional contributions from Lewiston by Big Big News journalists Michelle R. Smith, David R. Martin, and Robert Bumsted.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Maine shooting aftermath

What is the main focus of the article?

The main focus of the article is on the mixed emotions experienced by residents of central Maine following the discovery of a deceased shooting suspect. The piece explores the community’s sense of relief coupled with enduring sorrow as they resume public activities.

Who was the suspect behind the shooting?

The suspect, named as Robert Card, was found dead at a recycling facility in Lisbon, Maine. Authorities attributed to him the killing of 18 people and wounding of 13 others in a shooting spree at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston.

How did the community react after the suspect was found?

The community expressed a palpable sense of relief that the immediate threat had been removed, but this was tinged with sorrow for the lives lost and the trauma inflicted. Residents are cautiously returning to public spaces while grappling with the emotional aftermath of the events.

Were there any community initiatives after the incident?

Yes, a family from southern Maine spent an afternoon distributing flowers to strangers in downtown Lewiston as a gesture of communal support. Additionally, a local armory that was supposed to host a Halloween event was repurposed as a family assistance center.

How has the tragedy affected local schools and educators?

Local educator Christal Pele expressed uncertainty about how she would address the tragic events with her students when school resumes. The tragedy has led to a sense of unity among community members, but it has also cast a lingering, mournful atmosphere.

What are some individual experiences highlighted in the article?

The article shares the experiences of several individuals such as Melissa Brown, who compared the shooting to a similar traumatic event she experienced in Washington, D.C., and Tammy Asselin, who was present at the bowling alley during the shooting and expressed both relief and sorrow upon learning of the suspect’s death.

Were there any public notes or messages shared within the community?

An anonymous note was left on a café table, stating, “We Love You Lewiston. It’s OK to not be OK,” encapsulating the complex emotions felt by the community.

What is the state of recovery for those directly affected?

While some express cautious optimism about a journey towards healing, others, like William Brackett, Sr., who lost his son, acknowledge that full emotional recovery may remain elusive.

More about Maine shooting aftermath

  • Emotional Aftermath of Public Shootings
  • Understanding Community Trauma and Healing
  • Guidelines for Discussing Tragedy in Schools
  • The Psychological Impact of Lockdowns
  • Steps for Community Recovery After a Crisis
  • The Role of Family Assistance Centers in Crisis
  • The Prevalence of Gun Violence in America

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8 comments

RachelG October 29, 2023 - 1:00 am

Feeling so sad for this community. they’re trying to heal but it’s not gonna be easy. The article does a good job capturing the mix of relief and ongoing grief.

Reply
Mike_H October 29, 2023 - 5:14 am

Good reporting, but man, it’s just depressing to read. Seems like this kinda stuff’s happening everywhere these days.

Reply
JohnDoe October 29, 2023 - 6:08 am

Wow, can’t believe what’s happening in Maine. Its like the world’s falling apart bit by bit. What’s it gonna take for things to finally change?

Reply
Sarah1990 October 29, 2023 - 8:32 am

This article really got to me, you can feel the pain in that community. i can’t even imagine how they’re dealing with this right now.

Reply
TomRiley October 29, 2023 - 10:06 am

Just a note to say the article was well written and captured the sentiment on ground. It’s tough times we live in, but reading pieces like this reminds us that we’re all in this together.

Reply
BeckyW October 29, 2023 - 11:04 am

Can’t stop thinking bout the kids who have to go back to school after all this. how do you even begin to explain this to them?

Reply
JakeM October 29, 2023 - 5:37 pm

I wish the article could’ve delved into the motives behind the shooting. Now that the suspects gone, we’ll probably never know.

Reply
LindaK October 29, 2023 - 6:39 pm

My heart goes out to the families. it’s just so much to process. also, kudos to the family handing out flowers, every lil bit helps.

Reply

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