In May, family members of Robert Card, 40, contacted the sheriff’s office stating that Card’s mental health had begun to decline in January. “They were concerned for his well being and said that Mr. Card had access to firearms,” Sheriff Joel Merry said in a statement issued Monday evening.
Army representatives informed the sheriff’s office that “they would ensure that Card received medical attention,” according to the statement, which added, “Mr. Card’s unit sergeant shared his plan to speak with Card.”
After receiving a request for a wellness check from the Army Reserve, Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office made two visits to Card’s residence, but failed to make contact with him. On Oct. 25, Card killed 18 people and injured 13 more during a rampage at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine — America’s deadliest mass shooting this year.
Documents released by the sheriff’s office Monday evening reveal the extent to which police were aware of the Army reservist’s increasingly paranoid behavior, including indications he was hearing voices and had plans to carry out a shooting spree.
Earlier on Monday, an Army spokesperson told CBS News that Card underwent a medical evaluation while training at New York’s U.S. Military Academy, three months before the deadly shooting. The Army determined he was “behaving erratically” and should not have access to weapons, ammunition or be allowed to “participate in live fire activity.” After being treated at a psychiatric hospital for two weeks, he was released, per the outlet.
A letter from the U.S. Army Reserve included in a police report, per the Portland Press Herald, stated that while at West Point, a friend of Card’s said that Card had told him he “has guns and is going to shoot up the drill center at Saco and other places.” The letter continued, stating that friend was “concerned that Card is going to snap and commit a mass shooting.”
Deputies visited Card’s home twice on Sept. 15 and Sept. 16, according to Merry’s statement. On the second visit, Card’s car was outside the trailer, but the officers said they did not see him or hear any voice — though a deputy stated he thought he might have heard someone moving inside.
According to the report, the deputy made contact with Card’s unit commander, who said Card no longer had any weapons from the reserve unit and said they were trying to get him treatment and “thought it best to let Card have time to himself.”
On Oct. 18, a File 6 – an attempt to locate teletype – to other law enforcement agencies was cancelled.
“My office will evaluate our policies and procedures for how we conduct wellness checks with the goal of making any improvements that are in the interest of public safety while balancing the rights of individuals,” Merry said in Monday’s statement.