LEWISTON, Maine – A catastrophic shooting incident occurred across multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night, leaving at least 22 dead and 30 injured. The incident, which unfolded rapidly and chaotically, has rocked this small city, profoundly shaking the local community.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck, in a late-night press briefing, stated that while the exact number of casualties was not yet confirmed, the situation was extremely volatile and constantly evolving. Authorities identified Robert R. Card, a resident of Bowdoin, Maine, and a known firearms instructor, as a key person of interest in connection with the deadly shooting.
Described by law enforcement as “armed and dangerous,” Card became the focal point of an intense manhunt. The Lewiston Police Department, in a public announcement, urged residents to be vigilant and report any information regarding Card’s whereabouts, emphasizing the critical nature of public cooperation in ensuring safety.
According to a bulletin from the Maine Information and Analysis Center, Card is believed to be a member of the Army Reserve, stationed in Saco, Maine. The bulletin also disclosed concerning reports about Card’s mental health, including recent auditory hallucinations and expressed intentions to target a National Guard base in Maine. Card had reportedly been committed to a mental health facility earlier in the summer of 2023.
In response to the escalating threat, authorities issued a “shelter in place” directive to Lewiston residents, advising them to remain indoors and secure their homes. The active shooting incidents reportedly took place at Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant and Sparetime Recreation, with Maine State Police confirming the critical situation through social media.
Photographs of the suspect, released by the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, showed a figure clad in a brown sweatshirt and armed with a rifle. The visuals, captured on surveillance cameras, further aided the police in their search efforts.
In the wake of this tragedy, the White House announced that President Joe Biden has been briefed and is receiving ongoing updates. Maine Governor Janet Mills, too, expressed awareness of the situation, urging the community to heed law enforcement instructions. In a show of interagency collaboration, the FBI’s Boston Division declared its readiness to provide comprehensive support, including investigative, tactical, and victim assistance resources.
The Lewiston Public School Superintendent, acknowledging the severity and uncertainty of the situation, announced the closure of schools for Thursday, October 26, 2023. Emphasizing the importance of community and familial support during such times, the Superintendent’s message resonated with a town now grappling with the aftermath of an unprecedented crisis.