Police Converge on Residence in Hunt for Suspect Behind 18 Fatalities in Maine Shooting

by Madison Thomas
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Armed law enforcement officers encircled a residence on Thursday in pursuit of a U.S. Army reservist, identified as the individual responsible for the deaths of 18 people and the wounding of 13 others in a mass shooting incident at a Lewiston, Maine bowling alley and bar.

Commands for the suspect, Robert Card, and anyone else inside the house to exit were loudly broadcast through a megaphone. The residence belongs to a relative of Card and is located near the town of Bowdoin.

Since the occurrences at the bowling alley and bar on Wednesday evening, a large-scale manhunt involving hundreds of law enforcement personnel, including a significant number of FBI agents, has been underway. Card, a 40-year-old reservist with a documented history of mental health issues, is the target of this search, which has instilled a climate of fear across the state of Maine.

Public facilities including schools, healthcare providers, and grocery stores remained closed, and residents stayed inside their homes even in locales as distant as 50 miles from the scenes of the shooting incidents in Lewiston.

President Joe Biden has ordered that all U.S. flags be flown at half-staff, and messages of condolence have been received from across the country. Among those expressing sorrow was Maine native and author Stephen King, who described the event as “madness.” The violent acts shocked a state with a small population of 1.3 million that had one of the nation’s lowest homicide rates, recording only 29 killings in the entire year of 2022.

Authorities have described Card as armed and dangerous, cautioning the public against approaching him. He had been evaluated for mental health concerns in July following erratic behavior while serving with his reserve unit, according to a U.S. official who spoke to The Big Big News.

Details regarding the type of weapon or weapons Card utilized in the attacks and how he acquired them have not been disclosed by investigators. Photos released by the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office showed the suspect entering the bowling alley with a rifle poised at his shoulder.

Significant law enforcement presence was visible on Thursday near residences belonging to Card’s relatives in the vicinity of Bowdoin. FBI agents and armed officers were seen arriving in military-style vehicles, as a helicopter hovered in the area. Loud bangs were also reported.

Senator Susan Collins stated in an evening press conference that about 80 FBI agents were actively involved in the search for Card, supported by multiple other federal, state, and local police agencies.

Contact information for Card found in public records was inactive, and a female relative of Card confirmed that the family was assisting the FBI, but provided no further details.

The Canada Border Services Agency has issued an alert declaring Card as “armed and dangerous” to its officers along the Canada-U.S. border.

Maine Governor Janet Mills vowed to bring the perpetrator to justice and to seek retribution for the victims and their families, emphasizing that there would be no rest in these efforts.

Police have so far issued eight murder warrants for Card after identifying eight victims, and more are expected once additional victims have been identified, according to Maine State Police Colonel William Ross. Among the wounded, three are in critical condition and five are stable, as per Central Maine Medical Center officials.

The incident began at a bowling alley called Just-In-Time Recreation, during a children’s league event. Witnesses recounted their terror and scramble for safety during the violent episode.

Community members remained on high alert, locking doors and staying indoors. Multi-state efforts to locate Card extended to waterways, with the Coast Guard deploying a patrol boat along the Kennebunk River, although no unusual activities were reported. Card’s vehicle and boat have been found near the Androscoggin River, which is connected to the Kennebunk.

Card had been admitted to a mental health facility earlier in the summer due to auditory hallucinations and expressed intent to commit violence, according to a bulletin sent to police nationwide.

The search for Card continued to be a pressing concern, contrasting with many past incidents where the suspect was located shortly after the events. The extended manhunt has left communities tense, and buildings in Maine’s largest city, Portland, have also been closed to the public.

This episode marks the 36th mass killing in the United States for the current year, according to a database maintained by The Big Big News and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.

Maine’s legislative history with regards to gun ownership was also highlighted, particularly the state’s 2019 “yellow flag” law, designed to allow police to seek medical evaluation for individuals deemed dangerous prior to confiscating their firearms.

Noted author Stephen King took to social media, once known as Twitter, to express his views, underlining the need for change in gun policy.

This story has been corrected to clarify that the name of the bowling alley is Just-In-Time Recreation, contrary to earlier reports naming it as Sparetime Recreation.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News journalists stationed in various locations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Manhunt for Mass Shooting Suspect in Maine

What is the main focus of the article?

The article focuses on the manhunt for Robert Card, a U.S. Army reservist suspected of carrying out a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, which resulted in 18 deaths and 13 injuries.

Who is the primary suspect in the case?

The primary suspect is Robert Card, a 40-year-old U.S. Army reservist with a history of mental health issues.

How have authorities responded to the mass shooting?

Authorities, including local police and FBI agents, have launched an intensive search operation to locate the suspect. Schools, doctor’s offices, and grocery stores have been closed, and people are advised to stay indoors. President Joe Biden has ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff.

What impact has the shooting had on the state of Maine?

The shooting has caused widespread fear and has led to the closure of schools and businesses even in cities as far as 50 miles away from Lewiston. Maine, which usually has one of the country’s lowest homicide rates, has been profoundly shaken by the event.

Were there any prior signs of the suspect’s intent?

Robert Card underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after he began acting erratically while with his reserve regiment. A bulletin sent to police also mentioned that Card had been committed to a mental health facility this past summer after “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base.

What is the current status of the wounded victims?

Three of the 13 people wounded in the shootings are in critical condition, while five are hospitalized but stable, according to Central Maine Medical Center officials.

How has the federal government been involved in the case?

The FBI has deployed about 80 agents to Maine to assist in the search for Card. President Joe Biden has also ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff in response to the shooting.

Has the suspect been sighted since the incident?

As of the article’s publication, police had not confirmed if they have seen Card since the mass shooting incidents at the bar and bowling alley.

Are there any precautions taken at the Canada-U.S. border?

Yes, the Canada Border Services Agency has issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada-U.S. border as part of precautions.

What measures are being taken to find the suspect?

Authorities have launched a multistate search operation for Card on both land and water. The Coast Guard sent out a patrol boat along the Kennebec River, and Card’s car was found by a boat launch near the Androscoggin River.

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