Police Hunt for Man Connected to Significant Mass Shootings in Lewiston, Maine

UNITED STATES: In the wake of mass shootings at a bar and a bowling alley, hundreds of police officers embarked on a search throughout the city of Lewiston and its surrounding areas in the state of Maine as news agencies reported a range of fatality counts, from 16 to 22, with dozens more injured.

Authorities confirmed the occurrence of multiple casualties but refrained from disclosing specific figures.

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State and local authorities pinpointed Robert R. Card, aged 40, as a person of interest in the case after previously sharing images of a guy brandishing what seemed to be a semi-automatic gun on Facebook.

The photographs, taken at one of the crime scenes on Wednesday, showed a bearded man in a brown hoodie and jeans holding the weapon in a firing position.

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Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck stated during a press conference, “We have literally hundreds of police officers working around the state of Maine to investigate this case to locate Mr. Card, who is a person of interest.”

Numerous media outlets have reported that a law enforcement bulletin in Maine has identified Card as a certified firearms instructor and a member of the U.S. Army reserve.

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The bulletin further noted that he had recently disclosed experiencing mental health challenges, including auditory hallucinations, and had made threats regarding a potential shooting incident at a National Guard base.

“Card was also reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released,” reads the notice from the Maine Information & Analysis Centre.

In Lewiston, a town of approximately 38,000 residents that was once a thriving textile hub, the bar and the bowling alley are situated roughly four miles (6.5 km) apart. Lewiston is located in Androscoggin County, about 35 miles (56 km) to the north of Maine’s largest city, Portland.

In a statement, Lewiston’s Central Maine Medical Centre stated that it was “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event” and that it was working with nearby hospitals to transport patients.

According to a U.S. official in Washington, President Joe Biden has been briefed and will get updates going forward.

According to the White House, the President personally spoke with Maine Governor Janet Mills, Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, and Congressman Jared Golden via phone. During these conversations, he extended the offer of full federal support in response to the tragic shooting incident in Lewiston.

If the death toll of 22 is confirmed, it would mark the deadliest massacre in the United States since at least August 2019. During that time, a gunman used an AK-47 rifle to open fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, resulting in the loss of 23 lives. Prosecutors characterised this shooting as an anti-Hispanic hate crime, as per the Gun Violence Archive.

The 22 fatalities would also be comparable to the average annual number of killings in Maine. Since 2012, the state’s yearly homicide toll has varied between 16 and 29, as per Maine State Police.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the United States has witnessed a significant increase in shootings involving four or more individuals being shot.

In 2022, there were 647 such incidents, and based on trends as of July, it is projected that 679 may occur in 2023, as reported by data from the archive.

The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history remains the tragic event in which a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas country music festival from a high-rise hotel position in 2017, resulting in the loss of 58 lives.

Also Read: Brussels Shooting Tragedy Claims Lives of Two Swedish Citizens, Europe on High Alert