A massive manhunt is underway in Maine for an Army reserve firearms instructor who was sectioned this summer for mental health reasons, and is suspected of shooting dead 22 people on Wednesday night at multiple sites in Lewiston.
Robert Card, 40, from Bowdoin, Maine, was named by Maine state police as the suspect in the shootings at a bowling alley, restaurant and Walmart distribution center.
He was sectioned after saying he was hearing voices, and threatening to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco, Maine.
Card was armed with an AR 15-style rifle with laser optics when he burst into the bowling alley at 7:15pm to begin his rampage.
He was driving a 2013 white Subaru: Eric Samson, sheriff of Androscoggin County, Sheriff Eric Samson said at 11:20pm that law enforcement officers have found the vehicle in Lisbon, about seven miles southeast of Lewiston – but Card was not inside.
Lewiston city administrator confirmed that 22 were dead, local councillor Robert McCarthy said, with 50-60 were injured. Maine’s hospitals said they were declaring a mass casualty event. The death toll, which could rise, is the largest from a mass shooting this year.
The three locations were Sparetime bowling alley; Schemengee’s bar and grill; and a Walmart distribution center – although a spokesman said that the shooting was not on the site itself.
McCarthy said he had been told that a children’s bowling party was taking place at Sparetime at the time. Nichoel Wyman Arel, who was at the site, told CNN‘s Laura Coates that she saw a large number of children pouring out of the bowling alley.
Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist and firearms instructor, has been named as the suspect in the murder of 22 people in Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday
Card remains on the run: police have said he is driving a white Subaru
Card, from Bowdoin, Maine, is seen on a fishing trip
Justin Juray, an owner of the bowling alley, described the scene as ‘total chaos.’
McCarthy said police knew the ‘tentative identity’ of the gunman. Joe Biden’s state dinner with the prime minister of Australia was interrupted to inform the president.
A photo issued by sheriffs showed a white man with an AR-15-style rifle and a laser optic entering the Sparetime recreation center, wearing black combat trousers and a brown top. His face is clearly visible. The neighboring city of Auburn has also been placed on lockdown.
Police in Lewiston have also issued a photo of the white station wagon they are seeking, saying it could have a black-painted bumper.
‘There is an active shooter situation in the city of Lewiston,’ said Maine state police.
‘Law enforcement is asking people to shelter in place. Please stay inside your home with the doors locked.’
The gunman, wearing a brown hoodie, is seen in Lewiston on Wednesday night
Police in Lewiston are hunting for this man, pictured at the Sparetime recreation center. The first call came in for Sparetime at 7:15pm
Sheriffs issued this picture of the man they are hunting. He is seen entering Sparetime, a bowling alley in Lewiston
Police issued a photo of this car which they believe belongs to the gunman
The local hospital said at 9pm they could not confirm casualties.
‘Central Maine Healthcare is coordinating with area hospitals to take in patients,’ the hospital said.
- Police in Lewiston, Maine’s second city, were called to Sparetime bowling alley at 7:15pm.
- They then received calls from a second location four miles away, Schemengee’s bar and grill.
- A call was received from a third location – a Walmart distribution center – at 8:15pm.
- The gunman has not been named, but he and his car have been pictured by police.
- The death toll is unconfirmed, but Fox News reported that 22 were dead and 50-60 injured: local residents are being told to shelter in place.
Police audio said the two locations were Schemengee’s bar and grill, and Sparetime recreation center. The two sites are around four miles apart, in Maine’s second-largest city.
Police were then called to a third location, a Walmart distribution center, said Derrick St. Laurent, a Lewiston spokesman.
St. Laurent told the Sun Journal that the first call, to Sparetime, came at around 7:16pm.
Police were then called to Schemengee’s, and after that, at about 8:15pm, the Walmart site.
Joe Pennington, a Walmart spokesman, said: ‘This shooting did not occur on Walmart property.’
McCarthy told CNN: ‘My understanding is that they have a tentative identification.
‘They have set up the National Guard center as a triage center.
‘The hospitals have called up all off-duty staff. Our hospitals are not geared to cope with this, but they are doing the best they can.
‘We are blessed with the best police in the state, and I am sure they are doing all they can.’
McCarthy said his own home was near the bowling alley, and they were barricaded inside with their guns.
‘The bowling alley is in a business park,’ he said.
‘There were two restaurants next door, and a lot of patrons ran there.
‘The other bar is way across town, on the outskirts of the city.
‘There are also reports that the doors were shot out at the Walmart distribution center.’
Asked about efforts to identify the gunman, McCarthy said: ‘They have a picture of a vehicle they believe he was in, and they have some unique characteristics – the front bumper is black. I’m told they have the plate number. I’m told they are looking for him hard.’
Footage shared on social media showed police racing to the scene in the town of 36,000 people, 35 miles north of Portland and 35 miles south of the capital, Augusta.
The city of Auburn, just across the Androscoggin River, has also warned residents to remain indoors.
‘**ALERT: There is an active shooter incident in progress in the City of Lewiston,’ they wrote on X.
‘ALL Auburn & Lewiston residents are strongly urged to shelter in place, lock all doors & report suspicious individuals and activities to 9-1-1.
‘Most businesses in the area have closed/are closing.**’
Bates College, a private liberal arts college in Lewiston, is on lockdown, according to The New York Times.
Dozens of students are sheltering on the top floor of the college library, crouched down among the books and scrolling through social media for updates.
People are seen running from the scene of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine
Crowds scattered after shots rung out on Wednesday evening
Police in Lewiston, Maine are seen rushing to reports of two shootings – one at a bar, one at a bowling alley
Janet Mills, the governor of Maine, said in a statement she was aware of the shootings and had been briefed.
‘I urge all people in the area to follow the direction of State and local enforcement,’ Mills said in the statement.
‘I will to continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with public safety officials.’
Maine has a fairly high level of gun ownership, and relatively lax laws: Roughly half of its households have them, according to research cited by Maine public radio last year.
But unlike many states with such a large supply, it sees relatively few fatal shootings each year: 89 percent of gun deaths are suicide, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
‘There’s no large cities in Maine,’ said Representative Chellie Pingree, a Democrat.
‘So this isn’t like being in Dallas or New York City. It’s a very tight-knit community in spite of the fact that it’s a city, and I’m just sure there’s just an enormous number of grieving families.’
Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, tweeted his condolences, and expressed his anger at the shooting.
‘Devastating news out of Maine. A mass shooting. Multiple locations. At least 16 dead, 50 injured, and thousands of lives forever changed,’ he wrote on X.
‘We don’t have to live like this, and we definitely don’t have to die like this.’
On Monday, the superintendent of Lewiston Public Schools, Jake Langlais, wrote to parents to inform them that he had been made aware of threats to the school – but they had determined the person making the threats was 10 years old, and lived in the midwest.
‘The individual responsible for the message that was threatening to LHS last night has been identified,’ wrote Langlais, in a letter obtained by News Center Maine.
‘Law enforcement has made contact and the situation has been taken care of.’
He said that school would operate as normal on Monday.