LEWISTON, ME – The suspect responsible for the tragic mass shootings that killed 18 individuals in Lewiston, Maine, has been discovered deceased. The 40-year-old suspect, Robert Card, was found lifeless near a recycling plant in the Lisbon vicinity, as confirmed by multiple law enforcement sources. Authorities have revealed that he succumbed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a somber revelation made during a news conference by Mike Sauschuck, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, on Friday night.
The grim discovery of Card’s body occurred at approximately 7:45 p.m. local time near the Androscoggin River in Lisbon, a town situated about 8 miles southwest of Lewiston. Prior to this, law enforcement had located the suspect’s abandoned white Subaru Outback near a boat launch on the river. Maine Governor Janet Mills personally informed President Biden of Card’s demise, expressing relief that he was no longer a threat. President Biden, in a statement, lamented the tragedy, calling for congressional action to address the ongoing issue of gun violence.
The manhunt for the suspect had engaged hundreds of state and local police along with federal agents since the shootings unfolded on Wednesday night. At one point, heavily armed police had surrounded a residence in Bowdoin, the suspect’s hometown located about 35 minutes from Lewiston. However, the search yielded no results. On Friday, authorities deployed divers to conduct underwater searches near the area where Card’s vehicle was found abandoned.
Investigators have recovered a firearm from the suspect’s deserted vehicle, confirmed as legally purchased. It remains uncertain whether this weapon was used in the shootings. Furthermore, investigators have been diligently examining the suspect’s cellphone and online activity, including text messages and emails, in hopes of shedding light on his motive behind the horrific events.
The devastating sequence of events commenced shortly before 7 p.m. on Wednesday when a 911 call alerted authorities to a shooting at Sparetime Recreation, a Lewiston bowling alley, where six men and one woman tragically lost their lives. Minutes later, at 7:08 p.m., police responded to another shooting at Schemengees Bar and Grille, a few miles away, where eight individuals perished. Three more victims passed away at local hospitals. The suspect fled the scenes, leading to warnings of his dangerous status.
Card, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, had previously reported mental health issues and threats to shoot up a military base in Saco. He had also undergone a two-week stint in a mental health facility in July due to erratic behavior. Communities in the area had been under shelter-in-place orders in the days following the shootings, with schools closed and residents advised to stay indoors. These restrictions were lifted on Friday.
Mayor Carl Sheline expressed the profound shock and grief that had enveloped the city, emphasizing the loss felt by the community and offering condolences to the victims and their families. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the suspect might have targeted a specific individual, possibly a current or former girlfriend, though it remains uncertain if she was present at the scenes of the attacks.
The victims of this horrifying mass shooting ranged in age from 14 to 76, as confirmed by the medical examiner. Among them were individuals who displayed incredible bravery in the face of danger, including a bar manager who attempted to confront the assailant and a bowling instructor teaching children. Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed the nation’s grief and offered condolences to the victims’ families, acknowledging the irreplaceable loss they have suffered.