Robert Card, the suspect in the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night that left at least 18 dead and 13 more injured, has been found dead. The news comes after a three-day manhunt spanning several Maine cities.
Card is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Friday. According to an official briefed on the matter, his body was found at a recycling center where he used to work, per the New York Times.
A massive manhunt and a county-wide lockdown began late Wednesday night after the gunman targeted several separate locations in Maine’s second-largest city. During a press conference Wednesday night, authorities called the situation “fluid” and urged locals to act with extreme caution.
Shortly after the shooting took place, Lewiston Police identified Robert Card, 40, as a person of interest. In a police bulletin reviewed by the Associated Press, authorities said Card had been trained as a firearms instructor at a U.S. Army Reserve training facility in Maine. The bulletin said Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023. It did not elaborate on the type of treatment he received but reportedly said Card reported hearing voices and had threatened to carry out a shooting at the military training base in Saco, Maine.
On Thursday morning, police said Card’s vehicle was uncovered in an area of Maine where he had a boat docked. As the manhunt remained underway, Maine counties remained under lockdown, with school closures in the area.
Lewiston Police and the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office posted several images of the alleged gunman on social media. Authorities asked residents to contact police if they recognized the suspect, who appeared to be a bearded white man wearing dark pants and a brown long-sleeved shirt holding a rifle.
As the search for the shooter continued, residents were urged to stay in their homes. Early Thursday morning, Lewiston Public Schools confirmed that schools would be closed for the day. “There remains a lot of unknowns at this time. Information moves quickly but not always accurately. Please continue to shelter in place or get to safety. We will continue to update you with information and next steps as appropriate,” Lewiston Public Schools wrote on Facebook. “Stay close to your loved ones. Embrace them.”
Hundreds of officers across the state were involved in the manhunt, according to Maine officials. Several roads were closed down, and all town offices were closed in Lisbon, where a car connected to the shooter was found. A reunification center was set up at Auburn Middle School, where families could find their loved ones.
On Thursday evening, officers began searching residents with known connections to Card. Police gathered outside a house in Bowdoin, Maine, owned by Card’s family, according to the New York Times. But after hours of searching, a spokesperson for Maine State Police told NYT that they believed that the suspect was not there.
The shootings took place in several locations in Lewiston. Police identified Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, located about 10 minutes apart by car. Kathy Lebel, co-owner of Schemengees, told Sun Journal a person walked into the restaurant and “started shooting.”
“It was just a fun night playing cornhole… it’s the last thing you’re expecting, right?” Lebel said. “I still feel like this whole thing is a nightmare.”
Colonel William Ross of the Maine State Police said at the Thursday morning press conference that seven of the victims were killed at the initial shooting at the Sparetime Recreation, where six men and one woman were shot and killed. The shooting at Schemengees Bar and Grille resulted in additional deaths, including seven men inside the building and one man outside. Three more people — the genders of which were not revealed — died after being transferred to the hospital. Officials did not announce the ages of any of the victims.
Ross added of the at-large suspect, “He should be considered armed and dangerous. Based on our investigation, we believe this is someone that should not be approached.”
Maine does not require permits to carry concealed guns or background checks for private gun sales. On Thursday, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) said that he was reversing his opposition to banning military-style rifles after the mass shooting on Wednesday in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine.
“To the people of Lewiston, my constituents throughout the 2nd District, to those who lost loved ones and to those who have been harmed,” he said during a press conference. “I ask for forgiveness and support as I seek to put an end to these terrible shootings.”
Following the tragedy, President Joe Biden renewed his call for congressional Republicans to work with Democrats to support bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring universal background checks, and better safety protocols.