Unraveling the Maine Shooting Incident: From Leisure to Tragedy, Survivors Seek Answers

by Gabriel Martinez
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Maine shooting investigation

The initial sound that reached 10-year-old Toni Asselin’s ears resembled the sharp crack of a cue ball colliding forcefully on a billiard table. Mistaking the second noise for the thud of a dropped bowling ball, she was stunned when the third revealed a horrific reality: a person was shot and fell off their seat.

The violent episode unfolded shortly before 7 p.m. on a Wednesday evening at Just-in-Time Recreation—a popular 34-lane bowling alley known for its $75 “Pizza, Pins and Pepsi” package, which includes a large pizza, a pitcher of soda, and two hours of bowling for groups of six.

A patron had just disengaged his footwear, believing the initial sound to be a balloon bursting approximately 15 feet behind him. On turning, he was met with the sight of a gunman and immediately sprinted down a bowling lane.

“I effectively slid into the pin area and ascended into the machinery,” he recounted.

What had been an innocuous evening of bowling and social interaction was transformed into a devastating tragedy. The assailant targeted individuals engaging in leisurely activities, from bowling and beanbag tosses to sharing drinks with friends and working night shifts.

For Toni Asselin and her mother Tammy, the event was especially harrowing. A coach quickly escorted Toni and her youth league teammates outside. While some employees barricaded themselves in a freezer, others hid children in a backroom office. Tammy Asselin, initially paralyzed with shock, stumbled over bowling bags as she sought cover behind an overturned table to call emergency services. According to authorities, the first of numerous 911 calls was logged at 6:56 p.m., prompting swift police response.

At a subsequent moment, a young boy whispered words of comfort to Toni Asselin: “Don’t cry. It will be alright.”

A series of additional gunshots were followed by an eerie quiet.

“Is the assailant hunting or is he deceased?” Toni wondered, her mother shouting her name before others quickly hushed her out of concern that the gunman might still be present.

The shooter then proceeded to Schemengees Bar & Grille—a venue four miles away hosting an event for the deaf community. There, the killing resumed. The final tally was 18 dead and 13 wounded across both locations.

One victim, Peyton Brewer-Ross, was particularly passionate about the game of cornhole. “When he was killed, he was engaged in an activity he deeply loved,” said his brother, Wellman Brewer.

The bar manager, Joe Walker, heroically attempted to disarm the gunman using a butcher knife and was fatally shot in the process, according to multiple media reports.

Police were alerted to the second shooting incident at 7:08 p.m. The first officers arrived on the scene five minutes later. A manhunt for the suspect, identified as Robert Card, was initiated, encompassing land and water searches. He was later found dead at a recycling plant where he had previously worked.

As authorities continue to investigate the motive behind the carnage, survivors are left grappling with questions that defy simple answers.

“Why target a bowling alley? Why innocent people?” Tammy Asselin asked, only to later discover the death of her cousin Tricia, who had also been at the bowling alley that fateful evening.

Contributions for this report were made by David Sharp, a writer for Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Maine shooting investigation

What happened at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley?

A gunman opened fire at Just-in-Time Recreation, a popular 34-lane bowling alley in Maine, shortly before 7 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. The initial shooting and subsequent attacks resulted in 18 deaths and 13 injuries across two locations.

Who were the key people involved in the incident?

Toni Asselin, a 10-year-old, was a witness who heard the initial gunshots. Her mother, Tammy Asselin, was also present and became separated from her during the chaos. Another notable individual was Joe Walker, a bar manager at Schemengees Bar & Grille, who tried to stop the gunman but was fatally shot.

How did authorities respond to the incident?

Authorities were alerted via multiple 911 calls. The first call came in at 6:56 p.m., and four plainclothes officers arrived one and a half minutes later, followed by uniformed officers within three minutes. A manhunt was later initiated to capture the suspect, Robert Card.

Was the suspect apprehended?

Robert Card, the suspected shooter, was not apprehended. Authorities found his body at a recycling plant where he had previously worked.

Are there any accounts from survivors?

Yes, survivors provided accounts detailing their experiences, decisions, and actions during the event. For example, one patron mistook the first gunshot for a popping balloon and fled down a bowling lane for safety. Toni Asselin, a young witness, also recounted her traumatic experience.

What are the lingering questions following the incident?

Survivors and authorities are left grappling with unresolved questions, such as the motive behind the shooting and why specific locations were targeted. Tammy Asselin particularly questioned why the gunman chose a bowling alley and why innocent people were targeted.

Were there any heroics during the incident?

Yes, Joe Walker, a bar manager at the second location, Schemengees Bar & Grille, attempted to disarm the gunman with a butcher knife but was fatally shot in the attempt. His actions have been described as heroic by multiple media outlets.

What is the current status of the investigation?

As of the latest update, authorities are continuing their investigation into the motives behind the attacks. Schools and public buildings in various locations were temporarily closed as a precaution during the manhunt for Robert Card.

More about Maine shooting investigation

  • Official Police Statement on Maine Shooting Incident
  • Witness Accounts: Stories from Survivors
  • Timeline of Events: Maine Shooting
  • Local News Coverage: Just-in-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille Attacks
  • National Media Reports on Maine Tragedy
  • Community Reactions and Memorial Services
  • Law Enforcement Tactics: Responding to Active Shooter Situations
  • Public Safety Announcements: How to Respond in a Shooting Event

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