Authorities State That Maine Mass Killing Suspect Had Mental Health Complications and Legally Acquired Firearms

by Michael Nguyen
Maine mass killing

Two missed opportunities by law enforcement prolonged a citywide manhunt, causing widespread fear in Maine’s second-largest city. This occurred after Robert Card, a 40-year-old man, allegedly shot and killed 18 people at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston. Card himself was found dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a recycling facility in Lisbon Falls.

Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee stated that the police had initially searched the Maine Recycling Corp. premises, where Card was previously employed, without discovering him. It was only upon returning for a subsequent search that they found Card’s body along with two firearms in a trailer. A separate rifle had previously been discovered in Card’s abandoned car.

Jim Ferguson, the special agent overseeing the Boston office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, indicated that Card had purchased his weapons legally. While the agent refrained from giving specific information about the firearms, he did confirm that multiple weapons were recovered during the investigation.

Inquiries into the motive behind the mass killing are still ongoing. However, the focus of the investigation is increasingly shifting towards Card’s mental health. Michael Sauschuck, State Department of Public Safety Commissioner, revealed that Card had displayed signs of paranoia and had been hearing voices. Card had also undergone a mental health evaluation last summer after acting erratically at an Army training facility in New York. Despite this, Sauschuck noted there was no evidence that Card had ever been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution, which would have made it unlawful for him to own firearms under current regulations.

In Maine, a “yellow flag” law allows the police to detain individuals who are suspected of being mentally ill and posing a threat. However, this requires an initial evaluation by a medical practitioner before police can ask a judge to authorize the seizure of the person’s firearms.

During a news conference, Commissioner Sauschuck cautioned against stigmatizing mental illness in light of these events, stating that the vast majority of people diagnosed with mental health issues do not commit violent acts. A note was found in Card’s residence, which, although not explicitly a suicide note, suggested that suicide might have been his intention.

The tragic events have had a significant impact on the local community. Citizens resumed their daily activities on Saturday, with some reflecting on the incident and others attending memorials for the victims. The mass killings stand as a grim milestone, particularly for a state that typically experiences low rates of violent crime.

According to hospital officials, three patients remain in critical condition, while others have been discharged or are stable. After the lifting of a stay-at-home order, the Maine Recycling Corp. clarified that Card had worked there as a commercial driver for about a year and had voluntarily left his job last spring.

Family members promptly cooperated with the investigation, providing Card’s name soon after police released surveillance images of the alleged shooter. The incident in Lewiston is noted as the 36th mass killing in the United States this year, according to a database maintained collaboratively by AP and USA Today, along with Northeastern University.

Reporters contributing to this story include journalists from Portland, Maine; Lewiston; New York; and Boston.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Maine mass killing

What happened in Lewiston, Maine?

A mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine, where 18 people were killed at a bowling alley and a bar. The suspected gunman, Robert Card, was later found dead in a trailer at a recycling center in Lisbon Falls.

Who is the suspected gunman?

The suspected gunman is Robert Card, a 40-year-old man who had previously worked at the Maine Recycling Corp., where he was eventually found dead.

How did the police locate Robert Card?

The police located Robert Card after conducting multiple searches. He was found dead in a trailer at a recycling center in Lisbon Falls, with two firearms beside him.

Were there any missed opportunities by law enforcement?

Yes, the police had searched the recycling facility once but did not discover Card during the initial search. They returned later to search a different area of the property where they found him dead.

What is known about the firearms used in the shooting?

Special Agent Jim Ferguson confirmed that Card had purchased his weapons legally. The specific makes and models of the firearms have not been disclosed.

Is there any focus on the mental health of the suspect?

Yes, authorities are increasingly concentrating on Robert Card’s mental health as part of their investigation. He had exhibited signs of paranoia and had been hearing voices.

What are Maine’s laws concerning firearms and mental health?

Maine has a “yellow flag” law that allows law enforcement to detain individuals suspected of being mentally ill and posing a threat. However, a medical evaluation is needed before police can petition a judge to seize the person’s firearms.

What was the community’s reaction after the event?

The community has been affected deeply, but residents have started to resume their daily lives. Memorials for the victims have been set up, and family members are cooperating with the investigation.

How many mass killings have occurred in the U.S. this year?

According to a database maintained by AP and USA Today in collaboration with Northeastern University, the incident in Lewiston is the 36th mass killing in the United States this year.

How did the incident affect crime statistics in Maine?

The mass killings in Lewiston have stunned Maine, a state with relatively low rates of violent crime. The state had recorded only 29 killings for the entire year of 2022.

More about Maine mass killing

  • Maine’s Yellow Flag Law
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Mental Health and Gun Violence
  • AP and USA Today Mass Killing Database
  • Maine Violent Crime Statistics
  • Mental Health Evaluations and the Legal System
  • State Department of Public Safety of Maine
  • Central Maine Medical Center
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Lewiston Community Response to Mass Shooting

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Karen Johnson October 29, 2023 - 7:01 am

so many laws about guns but none of it seems to matter when stuff like this happens. maybe the problem’s not the law but how its implemented.

Megan Williams October 29, 2023 - 9:42 am

this is why mental health is so important. We really need to get better at spotting these issues early on. Lives are literally at stake.

William Thompson October 29, 2023 - 11:13 am

the article says he bought the guns legally, but did they look into his mental health? Are the checks enough? Makes you wonder.

John Smith October 29, 2023 - 3:39 pm

Wow, this is really tragic. I can’t believe law enforcement missed the chance to end it sooner. What’s happening to our cities?

David Chen October 29, 2023 - 10:46 pm

It’s really haunting to think this happened in Maine, of all places. You associate places like that with peace and tranquility. Not mass killings.


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