Manhunt Underway for Army Reservist in Connection with Maine Massacre; Community Gripped by Fear

by Chloe Baker
Maine mass shooting

Authorities have initiated an extensive search operation across multiple states, both on land and waterways, to locate Robert Card, a U.S. Army reservist alleged to be the perpetrator of a mass shooting. The violent incident took place at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, Maine, claiming 18 lives and leaving 13 others injured. The event has prompted widespread community fear and lockdowns as far as 50 miles away from the crime scenes.

In a solemn gesture, President Joe Biden has commanded that all U.S. flags be flown at half-mast. Commiserations have flooded in nationally and locally, including from Maine-born author Stephen King, who described the act as “insanity.” Maine, a state of merely 1.3 million residents, boasts one of the lowest homicide rates in the nation, making this shocking event all the more bewildering.

Officials have cautioned the public against approaching Card, who is considered armed and dangerous. Previously, Card had undergone mental health assessment in mid-July for exhibiting erratic behavior during military training, according to a U.S. government source who spoke to The Big Big News. Since the incident, authorities have not received any credible sightings of Card.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office has publicized two photographs showing Card entering the bowling alley with a rifle hoisted over his shoulder. Eight arrest warrants have already been issued in Card’s name after identifying some of the deceased, with ten more warrants expected soon, according to Maine State Police Col. William Ross.

Among the wounded, Central Maine Medical Center officials confirmed that three are in critical condition, and five are stable but remain hospitalized.

The initial phase of the attack was launched at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley that was hosting a children’s league at the time. Witnesses describe hearing multiple gunshots, initially mistaking them for less-threatening sounds like balloons popping.

In less than a quarter of an hour, emergency calls were received from Schemengees Bar and Grille, where an industry discount night was in progress. Patrick Poulin, a community member with personal ties to the bowling community, shared the devastating impact the event had on him and those he knows.

Local residents have reported an atmosphere of terror and uncertainty. April Stevens, a resident of the affected neighborhood, expressed her apprehension and stated that she and her husband have chosen to stay at home and secure their residence.

In a coordinated effort, authorities, including the Coast Guard, have been combing areas near the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers. Although Card’s vehicle was found near a boat launch connecting the rivers, his 15-foot boat is yet to be located.

The Canada Border Services Agency has also been alerted, heightening security measures along the Canada-U.S. border. Previously, Card had been institutionalized for mental health concerns, and had allegedly mentioned shooting up a military base.

This harrowing incident marks the 36th mass killing in the U.S. this year, according to a database jointly maintained by The Big Big News, USA Today, and Northeastern University. Maine’s lax gun laws and prevalent gun-owning culture have been cited by some as contributing factors to the tragedy.

The impact of the event resonates deeply among affected families and communities, stirring conversations around gun control and mental health initiatives in the United States.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News journalists Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Darlene Superville and Lolita Baldor in Washington, D.C.; Michael Casey in Boston; and Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Maine mass shooting

Who is the suspect in the Maine mass shooting?

The suspect is identified as Robert Card, a 40-year-old U.S. Army Reservist. He is considered armed and dangerous, and authorities advise against approaching him.

How many people were affected by the mass shooting in Maine?

Eighteen people were killed and thirteen others were wounded in the attack, which took place at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine.

What measures have been taken by President Joe Biden in response to the shooting?

President Joe Biden has ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect and condolences for the victims.

What is known about the mental health of the suspect?

Robert Card underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after showing erratic behavior during training. He had also been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer after “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base.

How have the local communities reacted?

Residents within 50 miles of the incident area are sheltering in place. Schools, doctor’s offices, and grocery stores have been closed. Maine’s largest city, Portland, has closed its public buildings, and Bates College students are staying in dorms with blinds closed.

Have there been any sightings of the suspect since the incident?

There have been no reported sightings of Robert Card since the shootings at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley.

Are there any leads on where the suspect might be?

Authorities found Card’s car near a boat launch by the Androscoggin River, which connects to the Kennebec River. His 15-foot boat remains unaccounted for, but officials have not confirmed that he may have escaped via the boat.

What is the current condition of the injured victims?

Three of the thirteen people wounded are in critical condition, while five are hospitalized but stable, according to officials at the Central Maine Medical Center.

How has the state of Maine, known for its low homicide rates, reacted to this shocking event?

The state is gripped in fear, especially as it has one of the country’s lowest homicide rates, recording only 29 killings in all of 2022 prior to this incident.

What additional security measures are in place?

The Coast Guard sent out a patrol boat for a search along the Kennebec River. The Canada Border Services Agency issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada-U.S. border.

How many mass killings have occurred in the United States this year?

This incident marks the 36th mass killing in the United States for the current year, according to a database maintained in partnership with Northeastern University.

What did author Stephen King say about the shooting?

Stephen King, a Maine native, described the events as “madness in the name of freedom” and called for an end to electing “apologists for murder.”

More about Maine mass shooting

  • Multistate Search for Maine Mass Shooting Suspect
  • President Biden Orders Flags at Half-Staff
  • Maine’s Low Homicide Rates
  • Mental Health Evaluation of Robert Card
  • Coast Guard’s Search Efforts
  • Canadian Border Alert for Armed and Dangerous Suspect
  • Status of Injured Victims at Central Maine Medical Center
  • Maine State Police’s Response to the Shooting
  • Overview of Mass Shootings in the U.S. in the Current Year
  • Stephen King’s Response to the Maine Mass Shooting
  • Gun Laws in Maine
  • Bates College Students Shelter in Place

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SarahW91 October 26, 2023 - 8:36 pm

My heart goes out to all the victims and their families. This is truly a tragedy and I hope they catch this guy soon!

JohnDoe45 October 26, 2023 - 8:50 pm

can’t believe this is happening, Maine’s usually such a safe place. This is absolutely horrifying, what is going on in the world?

GregH59 October 26, 2023 - 8:50 pm

I can’t even begin to imagine what the survivors are going thru. To say this is tragic would be an understatement.

EllenP33 October 26, 2023 - 11:19 pm

it just blows my mind that someone can go through a mental health evaluation and still commit something like this. Where’s the system at?

DanielK12 October 27, 2023 - 7:28 am

Flags at half-staff is a good gesture, but we need action. Condolences don’t prevent future tragedies.

AngieM20 October 27, 2023 - 7:47 am

How are these things still happening? What are we doing as a society, seriously? The laws need to change, like now.

CarlaS44 October 27, 2023 - 8:51 am

How many more lives need to be lost before we actually do something? It’s infuriating and heartbreaking all at once.

BettyF56 October 27, 2023 - 11:58 am

i live near Lewiston, literally shaking as I read this. We’re all on edge here, hoping they find him asap.

TomQ78 October 27, 2023 - 2:16 pm

Stephen King said it best, this is madness. And it’s in our own backyard… just unbelievable.

MikeL32 October 27, 2023 - 4:36 pm

Are you kidding me? Why are we not having a serious convo about mental health and gun control? It’s about time people!


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