Intensive Manhunt Continues for Suspect in Maine’s Deadliest Mass Shooting, Residents Stay Indoors

by Chloe Baker

Residents of Maine are on edge and have opted to remain in their homes for a second consecutive night as an extensive search operation continues for Robert Card. Card, an Army reservist, is accused by authorities of taking 18 lives in a bar and a bowling alley in what has become the state’s most lethal mass shooting.

On Thursday, the manhunt largely concentrated on a rural property in Bowdoin owned by one of Card’s relatives. A sizable contingent of FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel surrounded the residence, and multiple announcements were made, urging Card and any other occupants to surrender themselves.

Normally in situations involving violent suspects, law enforcement would move swiftly to enter the premises after executing warrants. However, after hours of repeated calls to surrender and subsequent searching, authorities vacated the location, leaving it uncertain whether Card had ever been present there, according to state police.

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Richard Goddard, a resident of the road where the search was conducted, is acquainted with the Card family. Goddard indicates that Robert Card, who is four years his junior, knows the local terrain intimately. “He was raised in this area. He knows every possible hiding spot here,” Goddard remarked.

As law enforcement officers diligently search multiple residences and follow all leads, Card, a 40-year-old with firearms instructor training, is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached, warn the authorities.

Card is suspected of carrying out the shootings with at least one rifle in Lewiston, Maine’s second-largest city, located approximately 15 miles from Bowdoin. The attacks resulted in 18 fatalities and left 13 people injured, three of whom remain in critical condition in the hospital.

Despite the ongoing investigations, authorities have yet to confirm the number and origin of the firearms used in the attacks.

Public facilities such as schools, healthcare offices, and grocery stores have been shuttered, affecting areas even 50 miles away from the crime scenes. Streets in affected communities were largely deserted late Thursday, with only the occasional police patrol breaking the silence.

Schools in Lewiston will continue to be closed on Friday, and a decision regarding Portland schools will be made in the morning. Bates College in Lewiston has also canceled Friday’s classes and postponed the inauguration of its first Black president.

April Stevens, a resident of the neighborhood where one of the shootings occurred, remains on high alert. She personally knew one of the deceased victims and another who needed surgery. “We’re praying for everyone,” Stevens shared, visibly emotional.

Governor Janet Mills vowed to leave no stone unturned in the quest to apprehend Card and to bring justice to the victims and their families.

Further details about Card’s recent behavior have come to light. A U.S. official disclosed that Card underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after displaying erratic behavior with his reserve unit.

This mass shooting has left the state, which has one of the lowest homicide rates in the country, deeply shocked. Maine has a population of only 1.3 million and recorded 29 homicides in the entire year of 2022.

A bulletin disseminated to police departments nationwide disclosed that Card had been institutionalized for two weeks during the summer for hearing voices and making threats to attack a military installation.

Law enforcement agencies continue their tireless search for Card, utilizing both land and water resources in their efforts. The Coast Guard deployed a patrol boat along the Kennebec River but found nothing unusual, according to Chief Petty Officer Ryan Smith.

A vehicle believed to belong to Card was found near a boat launch in Lisbon, close to the Androscoggin River that links to the Kennebec. Card’s 15-foot boat is still unaccounted for.

This event marks the 36th mass killing in the United States for the year, as reported by a database maintained by The Big Big News and USA Today, in collaboration with Northeastern University.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News journalists Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Robert Bukaty in Lewiston, Maine; Darlene Superville and Lolita Baldor in Washington, D.C.; Michael Casey in Boston; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Big Big News researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York; and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about manhunt

What is the current situation in Maine regarding the mass shooting?

The state of Maine is on high alert following a mass shooting incident allegedly carried out by Robert Card, an Army reservist. He is accused of fatally shooting 18 people in a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, marking the worst mass killing in Maine’s history. Authorities have launched an extensive manhunt for the suspect.

Who is the suspected perpetrator and what do we know about him?

Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist with firearms instructor training, is the prime suspect. Authorities have advised that he should be considered armed and dangerous. Card had previously undergone a mental health evaluation, and an alert indicates that he was committed to a mental health facility over the summer.

What areas are being focused on in the search for Robert Card?

The search has particularly concentrated on a property belonging to one of Card’s relatives in rural Bowdoin. Authorities have been scouring several other homes and are pursuing every lead.

How has the local community been affected?

Residents have largely stayed indoors and public facilities such as schools, doctor’s offices, and grocery stores have been closed in cities as far as 50 miles from the scenes of the shootings. Maine’s largest city, Portland, has also closed its public buildings.

What measures are authorities taking to find the suspect?

Hundreds of heavily armed police and FBI agents are involved in the manhunt. They have been conducting searches both on land and water, employing police dogs and even a Coast Guard patrol boat along the Kennebec River.

What is the condition of the wounded victims?

Of the 13 people wounded, three are in critical condition and five are hospitalized but stable, according to Central Maine Medical Center officials.

How are state officials responding to this crisis?

Maine Governor Janet Mills has promised to take all necessary measures to apprehend Robert Card and seek justice for the victims and their families. Authorities have also been cooperating with the Canada Border Services Agency, which issued an “armed and dangerous” alert.

What laws exist in Maine regarding gun ownership?

Maine has a longstanding culture of gun ownership and does not require permits to carry guns. The state passed a “yellow flag” law in 2019, requiring police to seek a medical evaluation of anyone believed to be dangerous before attempting to confiscate their firearms.

What is the broader context of this incident?

This incident marks the 36th mass killing in the United States for the year, according to a database maintained by The Big Big News and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. Maine, a state with one of the country’s lowest homicide rates, has been profoundly shaken by this event.

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Mike Lewis October 27, 2023 - 10:56 am

Why’d it take so long to find this guy? I mean he knows the area but come on, we have all this tech and can’t catch one guy?

Peter Thompson October 27, 2023 - 2:28 pm

Armed and dangerous alert at the Canadian border, that’s something you don’t hear every day. This is getting way out of hand.

Tom Allen October 27, 2023 - 3:48 pm

In most mass shootings the suspect is found quick. But this time he’s still out there. Just terrifying.

John Doe October 27, 2023 - 10:37 pm

This is just unbelievable. A quiet state like Maine and then this happens? We gotta rethink our whole stance on gun control, for real.

Karen White October 28, 2023 - 1:02 am

Can’t believe this is the 36th mass killing this year in the US. we need change and we need it now.

Sarah Williams October 28, 2023 - 3:30 am

Schools, offices, everything’s closed. We’re all living in fear. When’s this gonna end?

Linda Brown October 28, 2023 - 3:47 am

We need to also talk about mental health. guy was clearly unstable, why was nothing done?

Emily Smith October 28, 2023 - 6:47 am

I can’t even imagine what the families are going thru right now. No words can describe this tragedy.

David Johnson October 28, 2023 - 7:39 am

i thought Maine was safe. seriously, what is happening to the world.

Rachel Davis October 28, 2023 - 8:21 am

Praying for everyone affected. This is just too much to bear.


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