Police Surround Home in Search for Suspect in Fatal Shooting of 18 in Maine

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
October 26, 2023US News
Police Surround Home in Search for Suspect in Fatal Shooting of 18 in Maine
Law enforcement officers investigate a scene in Bowdoin, Maine, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Steven Senne/AP Photo)

LEWISTON, Maine—Police surrounded a home Thursday as they searched for a U.S. Army reservist who authorities say killed 18 people and wounded 13 in a mass shooting at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine.

“You need to come outside now with nothing in your hands. Your hands in the air,” police shouted through a megaphone outside the home owned by suspect Robert Card’s relative near the town of Bowdoin.

Dozens of law enforcement officials had descended on the property, with extended announcements calling for Mr. Card and anyone in the home to come out into the driveway. In most instances when police execute warrants—even for suspects wanted for violent crimes—they move quickly to enter the home.

“The announcements that are being heard over a loudspeaker are standard search warrant announcements when executing a warrant to ensure the safety of all involved,” state police spokesperson Shannon Moss said. “It is unknown whether Robert Card is in any of the homes law enforcement will search.”

Hundreds of law enforcement agents, including dozens of FBI agents, have been hunting for Mr. Card, a 40-year-old reservist with a history of mental health issues, since Wednesday night’s shootings.

Schools, doctor’s offices, and grocery stores closed and people stayed behind locked doors in cities as far away as 50 miles from the scenes of the shootings in Lewiston.

President Joe Biden ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff as condolences poured in from around the nation and at home.

Mr. Card is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached, authorities said at a news conference. Mr. Card underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after he began acting erratically while with his reserve regiment, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

Earlier, police had not said if they have seen Mr. Card since the shootings at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles away. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released two photos of the suspect walking into the bowling alley with a rifle raised to his shoulder.

NTD Photo
Authorities released a photo of the suspect in the Lewiston, Maine, mass shooting. (Courtesy of Lewiston Maine Police Department)

Earlier Thursday near the Card property near Bowdoin, about 15 miles from Lewiston, several FBI agents and other heavily armed officers gathered. A military-style vehicle and a white van arrived as a helicopter hovered overhead and someone repeatedly yelled, “FBI! Open the door!” Several loud bangs were heard a short time later.

A telephone number listed for Mr. Card in public records was not in service. A woman who answered a phone number for one of Mr. Card’s relatives said Thursday afternoon the family was helping the FBI. She didn’t give her name or additional details.

The Canada Border Services Agency issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada–U.S. border.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills promised to do whatever was needed to find Mr. Card and to “hold whoever is responsible for this atrocity accountable … and to seek full justice for the victims and their families.”

Eight murder warrants were issued for Mr. Card after authorities identified eight of the victims, police said. Ten more will likely be issued once the names of the rest of the dead are confirmed, said Maine State Police Col. William Ross.

Three of the 13 people wounded in the shootings were in critical condition and five were hospitalized but stable, Central Maine Medical Center officials said.

Maine Shooting
Law enforcement gather outside Schemengee’s Bar and Grille in Lewiston, Maine, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo)

Authorities launched a multistate search for Mr. Card on land and water. The Coast Guard sent out a patrol boat Thursday morning along the Kennebec River, but after hours of searching, they found “nothing out of the ordinary,” said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Smith, who is in charge of the Coast Guard’s Boothbay Harbor Station.

A car believed to belong to Mr. Card had been discovered by a boat launch in the town of Lisbon near the Androscoggin River, which connects to the Kennebec, and Mr. Card’s 15-foot boat remains unaccounted for, Mr. Smith said.

A bulletin sent to police across the country after the attack said Mr. Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer after “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base.

A U.S. official said Mr. Card was assigned to support training with the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment in West Point, New York, when commanders became concerned about him.

State police took Mr. Card to the Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point for evaluation, according to the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the information and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A neighbor, Dave Letarte, said Mr. Card’s family let them deer hunt on their property and were kind, although Mr. Letarte said he noticed Mr. Card appeared to have mental problems for a while.

“People have problems, but you don’t expect them to go on the deep end like that,” Mr. Letarte said. “When we saw it on the news last night, I was shocked.”

Immediately after the shooting, police took positions around Lewiston, Maine’s second largest city, with a population of 37,000.

Schools 50 miles away in the town of Kennebunk closed as the search continued. Maine’s largest city, Portland, closed its public buildings.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.