US law enforcement is trying to locate suspect Robert Card following shootings in two locations of Lewiston, Maine.
Maine state police have asked residents to “shelter in place” after an attacker in Lewiston killed more than 20 people, marking the United States’ deadliest mass shooting since August 2019.
As several US law enforcement departments continue to locate the attacker, here is what we know so far about the incident:
How many people were killed?
- US news outlets have reported police as saying the death toll ranging from 16 to 22, with dozens more wounded.
What happened and when?
- The shooting began at 6:56pm (22:56 GMT) on Wednesday, with people of various ages seen fleeing the affected areas, according to officials and witnesses.
- At approximately 7pm (23:00 GMT), the shooting locations were identified as Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley on Mollison Way in Lewiston, and Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant on Lincoln Street in Lewiston.
- At 8pm (00:00 GMT), the Androscoggin County sheriff’s office announced on Facebook that officials were investigating an active shooter situation. This was accompanied by photos of the suspect with a rifle and a call for businesses to lockdown.
- Officials began asking people to take shelter in Lewiston and neighbouring Auburn city. Schools, businesses, roads, and offices in higher-risk areas of Maine were ordered to close.
- At 9:17pm (01:17 GMT on Thursday): Lewiston police released an image of the suspect’s SUV found in Lisbon about 8 miles (13 miles) away from Lewiston, along the Route 196 highway. Later, some roads in Lewiston were also reported closed while police helicopters were seen circling over Lisbon.
Where did the shooting happen?
- The shooting occurred in Lewiston, the second-largest city in Maine and halfway between the state’s capital, Augusta, and the largest city, Portland. Lewiston falls under Androscoggin County.
- Maine lies at the northeastern corner of the US and is surrounded by Massachusetts state and Canada’s Quebec province. A 2020 census showed that the state has the highest white population in the country.
Who was behind it?
- Forty-year-old, Robert Card, has been identified as a “person of interest”. Police have labelled him as “armed and dangerous”, telling Maine residents to not approach or make contact with him, and to inform law enforcement if they know his whereabouts.
- A certified firearms instructor and member of the US Army Reserve, Card recently made threats that he would carry out a shooting at a National Guard facility in Saco, Maine.
- Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer, according to a Maine Information & Analysis Center notice that The Associated Press news agency said was circulated to law enforcement officials.
- During a news briefing on Wednesday night, Maine’s Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said they were “not prepared to go into [Card’s] background”.
Is Lewiston safe now?
- The situation is currently “fluid” while a manhunt is under way.
- The suspect’s vehicle was abandoned at a boat launch on the Androscoggin River with the bumper painted black. Officials are not sure whether he escaped to the woods or dumped the car and caught a boat, sources told CNN. Reports show that Card had rented a jet ski in June.
- An advisory to shelter is in place for Lewiston, Auburn, and Bowdoin in Maine. Municipal offices, libraries, businesses, and schools in some areas are closed.
What are people saying about the Maine shooting?
- US President Joe Biden called Maine political leaders to offer his support, according to the White House press office.
- Maine’s Governor Janet Mills said on Wednesday she was monitoring the situation with the help of public safety officials.
- Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline, according to ABC News, said, “I am heartbroken for our city and our people. Lewiston is known for our strength and grit and we will need both in the days to come.”
- One of the shooting locations, Schemengees Bar and Grille, expressed pain over the incident on its Facebook page.
What is happening next?
- According to officials, law enforcement agencies and hundreds of officers are still investigating the incident.
- At 10:30am (14:30 GMT) on Thursday, Maine police officials will be holding a news conference at Lewiston City Hall.
- Various US agencies, including FBI’s Boston division and Homeland Security, have extended their support to Maine officials for investigations and “victim assistance”.