LOGIN

Tragic Loss Felt by Maine’s Tightly-Woven Deaf Community Following Shootings that Claimed 4 Integral Members

by Sophia Chen
0 comment
Maine deaf community shooting

The tight-knit community of individuals with hearing impairments in Maine is in a state of mourning following the fatal shootings in Lewiston that took the lives of key members, several of whom were passionate advocates for their community.

The violent incidents, which transpired at both a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, resulted in the death of at least four individuals from the deaf community, according to a statement from the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing released on Friday. Overall, the shootings led to the loss of 18 lives and left 13 more injured.

Among those tragically lost was Joshua Seal, a 36-year-old sign language interpreter. He gained prominence in recent years for his work during pandemic briefings led by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Seal was fatally shot while participating in a cornhole tournament at Schemengees Bar, where he was spending time with friends.

Elizabeth Seal, his wife, shared her anguish in a post on social media, describing Joshua as “a marvelous spouse, my confidant, and my soulmate. He was also an exceptional boss, an extraordinary interpreter, a cherished friend, and a devoted son, brother, uncle, and grandson.”

Related Coverage

  • Teen bowler, shipbuilder, and sign language interpreter among Maine shooting victims
  • Current information on Maine’s mass shooting incident
  • Authorities have identified all victims of the Maine shooting, ages ranging from 14 to 76

“In a state of profound sorrow, I must convey that Joshua Seal is no longer with us; rather, he was violently taken from us in the Lewiston shooting on October 25. The reality still seems unfathomable,” she expressed.

Billy Brackett, 48; Steve Vozzella, 45; and Bryan MacFarlane, 41, were also foundational figures in Maine’s deaf community who lost their lives in the incident, the educational center reported. The Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, are situated on Mackworth Island in Falmouth, close to Portland.

Both institutions were shuttered on Friday in the wake of the violence. Nonetheless, the island became a focal point for those seeking to reminisce and mourn, stated Karen Hopkins, the executive director.

“Some individuals have visited the island today to reflect upon and process the monumental loss that our community is enduring,” said Hopkins. “The impact on our community is not just devastating; it is beyond comprehension.”

As of Friday afternoon, law enforcement agencies were still in the process of investigating the violent acts and were actively seeking suspect Robert Card. No motives have yet been offered for the attacks.

All four deceased members of the deaf community were closely affiliated with the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. Seal himself was a father to four deaf children who were all enrolled in programs offered by these institutions, Hopkins noted.

Brackett was an alumnus of the school and had a daughter currently enrolled in early intervention programs. MacFarlane was also a former student, and Vozzella’s spouse, Megan, is an alumna of the institution, according to Hopkins.

“The emotional toll on our staff is substantial because these individuals were not just members of our community; they were our friends,” Hopkins lamented.


Contributions to this report were made by Lisa Rathke, a writer for Big Big News, based in Marshfield, Vermont.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Maine deaf community shooting

What happened in the deaf community in Maine?

A mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine, resulting in the loss of four integral members of the local deaf community. The shooting also claimed the lives of 14 other individuals and injured 13 more.

Who were the victims from the deaf community?

The deceased from the deaf community were Joshua Seal, a 36-year-old sign language interpreter; Billy Brackett, 48; Steve Vozzella, 45; and Bryan MacFarlane, 41. All were key members and advocates within Maine’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Where did the shootings take place?

The shootings occurred at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine.

What institutions are connected to the deceased members of the deaf community?

The Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf are the primary institutions connected to the deceased. Both institutions are located on Mackworth Island in Falmouth, near Portland, Maine.

Were these institutions affected by the incident?

Yes, both the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf were closed on the day following the shooting. The island where they are located became a gathering place for those who wanted to mourn and share stories.

What is known about the suspected shooter?

As of the latest information, law enforcement agencies were actively seeking a suspect named Robert Card. No motives have yet been disclosed for the shootings.

How has this tragedy impacted the broader community?

The loss is being profoundly felt not only among friends and families of the victims but also among staff and students at the educational institutions connected to the victims. The event has had a devastating and incomprehensible impact on the community as a whole.

Were any of the victims involved in the COVID-19 pandemic response?

Yes, Joshua Seal had gained prominence in recent years for his role as a sign language interpreter during Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s pandemic briefings.

How are families and friends of the victims coping?

While it is difficult to summarize the emotional toll, public statements, like the one from Elizabeth Seal, highlight the deep sorrow and unimaginable loss experienced by families and friends.

More about Maine deaf community shooting

  • Current Information on Maine’s Mass Shooting
  • Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Official Statement
  • Local News Coverage on Lewiston Shooting
  • Background on Maine’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community
  • Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pandemic Briefings
  • Authorities Identify All Victims of the Maine Shooting
  • Statement from Karen Hopkins, Executive Director of Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Social Media Tributes to the Victims

You may also like

Leave a Comment

logo-site-white

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News

en_USEnglish