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US Continues Search for Mass Murderer Who Killed 18 in Maine

Written by on October 27, 2023

Hundreds of police and law enforcement agents are continuing an intense manhunt Friday in the northeastern U.S. state of Maine in search of a 40-year-old man whom authorities linked to the shooting deaths of 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar and grill in the small city of Lewiston.

Maine State Police Chief Col. William Ross said the suspect, Robert Card, “should be considered armed and dangerous” and that any people who might encounter him should call police rather than confront him.

Police and law enforcement agents concentrated most of their efforts Thursday on a property in Lewiston that belongs to a relative of Card.

Lewiston public schools and school districts near Lewiston are closed Friday as authorities continue their search.

Police said that Card, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve who recently reported that he had mental health issues, walked into the bowling alley, called Just-In-Time Recreation, late Wednesday and unleashed a torrent of gunfire from a semiautomatic weapon.

Then, authorities say, he drove to the nearby Schemengees Bar & Grille, where 12 minutes later he fired more gunshots inside the arcade-style restaurant.

Rescuers load a person into an ambulance at the scene of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, Oct. 25, 2023 in this still image obtained from social media video. Nichoel Wyman Arel/via Reuters.
Rescuers load a person into an ambulance at the scene of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, Oct. 25, 2023 in this still image obtained from social media video. Nichoel Wyman Arel/via Reuters.

Ross said seven people were killed at the bowling alley and eight at the restaurant, with three others dying from their gunshot wounds at local hospitals. Thirteen others were injured in the mayhem.

So far, arrest warrants for eight counts of murder have been issued for Card.

Ross said Thursday, “The reason it’s eight counts, because 10 people have not yet been identified as those people are identified, the counts will probably go to the total of 18.”

U.S. President Joe Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff at the White House in the aftermath of the country’s latest mass gun attack and again called for tighter gun regulation.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of gun ownership, a provision that has sanctioned the widespread ownership of firearms in the United States and often curbed Congress from enacting the most restrictive gun control proposals.

The Democratic president said in a statement, “Today, in the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers.”

He added, “This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars — physical and mental — of attack.”

Representative Jared Golden, a Democrat from Maine, announced Thursday that he is reversing his stand against a ban on assault weapons. He called on his fellow lawmakers “to ban assault rifles like the one used in this mass killing by this sick perpetrator in my hometown of Lewiston, Maine.”

Newly elected House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson, in his first full day on the job leading the narrow Republican majority in the House, said, “This is a dark time in America. We’re really, really hopeful and prayerful. Prayer is appropriate at a time like this, that the evil can end, and the senseless violence can stop.”

Johnson, a staunchly conservative evangelical Christian, would not answer any questions, including whether Congress should enact further gun control legislation.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said federal law enforcement authorities have joined Maine police in trying to find Card.

“We stand ready to provide any support that our state and local partners need,” Garland said in a statement. “No community should have to endure the horrific mass shootings that have become routine in our country.”

Mass shootings in the U.S. — those in which four or more people were shot — have become commonplace, surging since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, with 647 occurring in 2022 and 679 projected to occur in 2023, based on trends as of July, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

The attacks have occurred in the most public of places — churches, schools, synagogues, shopping malls, grocery stores and restaurants.

The deadliest modern U.S. mass shooting on record is the massacre of 58 people by a gunman firing on a Las Vegas country music festival from a high-rise hotel perch in 2017.

Some material in this report came from Reuters.

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