Shocked and frightened Maine residents stayed home for a second night as hundreds of heavily armed police and FBI agents intensely searched for Robert Card, 40, according to Army Reserve authorities, who shot 18 people at a bowling alley and bar. the worst massacre in state history.
Much of Thursday’s search focused on a property owned by one of Card’s relatives in rural Bowdoin, where trucks and vans filled with armed agents from the FBI and other agencies eventually surrounded a House. Card and everyone else inside were repeatedly ordered to surrender.
“You have to go out now with nothing in your hands. Your hands in the air,” police said over the loudspeaker. In most cases, when police execute warrants – even on suspects wanted for violent crimes – they quickly enter the home.
But hours later, after repeated announcements and searches, authorities left — and it was still unclear whether Card had ever been at the scene, state police said.
As the manhunt continues, here’s what we know about the suspected shooter, how the shooting happened and what’s next.
Who is Robert Card?
The suspected shooter in a Maine mass shooting that killed at least 18 people and injured 13 others is a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who sought mental health treatment over of the summer, according to a law enforcement bulletin reviewed by NBC 5 Investigations and Information from Law Enforcement Officials. .
NBC 5 Investigates has confirmed with the U.S. Army Reserves that Robert Card is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment in Saco, Maine.
As of Friday morning, Card’s whereabouts were still unknown.
Court records reviewed by NBC 5 Investigates show a judge on Thursday granted a prosecutor’s request to withhold certain information contained in Card’s arrest warrant from the public.
The assistant attorney general wrote that “no arrests have yet been made and disclosure of the information contained in the affidavit could hinder law enforcement’s ability to conduct its investigation.” A number of witnesses still need to be interviewed.”
Law enforcement sources told NBC News that over the summer, his commanders sent him for psychiatric treatment after he reported hearing voices and threatening to shoot at a National Guard base. A law enforcement bulletin said Card was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks before being released.
Card, still at large, was considered armed and dangerous, police said. A telephone number listed for the card in public records was not in service.
Maine State Police say Card is wanted on eight counts of murder. Ten victims remain unidentified. As more victims are identified, the charges against Card are expected to increase, said Col. William Ross of the Maine State Police.
What do Maine’s gun laws say?
Maine laws allow gun possession without a license, and two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News that the suspect legally purchased the weapon used in Wednesday night’s shooting.
Maine also has a “yellow flag” law that allows law enforcement to confiscate an individual’s firearms, but only after they have been taken into protective custody and if a medical professional observes a “probability of foreseeable harm”.
It was not immediately clear what specific steps were taken after the suspect’s mental health treatment.
An emailed statement to NBC Boston from a court spokesperson says mental health cases and weapons restriction cases are confidential.
Suspected shooter’s family tells NBC News he suffered an “acute” mental health episode for months and had a “manic belief” that people were saying negative things about him before the massacre from Wednesday.
What do Illinois’ red flag laws say?
On Thursday, NBC 5 Investigates spoke with former state Rep. Kathleen Willis, who was the lead sponsor of Illinois’ red flag law in 2018.
“In the state of Illinois, if you are placed in a mental health facility, it automatically revokes your FOID card for a period of time, and I guess we need to recognize why that hasn’t been done in Maine Or is it in preparation to be done and you haven’t followed through?’ she said.
Illinois law allows individuals to petition the court directly to remove firearms from their loved ones if they pose a risk of danger to themselves or others.
“And this is not a permanent removal of their weapons,” Willis said. “This is a temporary removal of weapons until they get their lives back in order.”
Another major difference between gun laws in Illinois and Maine: Following last summer’s Highland Park massacre, Illinois passed a ban on assault weapons..
How the shooting happened
Lewiston police said the shooting happened Wednesday evening at Schemengees Bar and Grille and Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles away. A number of parents and children were there just in time as part of a children’s bowling league.
The bowling alley is approximately 2 miles north of the Bates College campus on the outskirts of downtown and offers traditional ten-pin bowling and Candlepin, a variation found in New England.
Seven people were shot and killed at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, including a woman and six men, and eight people were shot and killed at Schemengees Bar and Grille, including seven men inside and one man inside. outside. Several other people were transferred to various hospitals, three of whom died. Eight of the dead have been identified and their families have been informed, while authorities are still working to identify the other 10.
A manhunt continues in Maine for a suspect in a mass shooting that left at least 18 people dead at several locations in Lewiston Wednesday night, NBC Chicago’s Natalie Martinez reports.
The father of a manager killed at Schemengees told NBC News’ Lester Holt that Card had been to the bar before.
“Everyone there knows him,” Leroy Walker said. “Actually, he used to come to Schemengees; he had been there from time to time.”
Patrick Poulin was supposed to be at the Just-in-Time bowling center with his 15-year-old son, who is part of a league that was practicing Wednesday. They stayed home, but he estimates there were probably several dozen young bowlers, ages 4 to 18, with their parents, at the facility. Poulin’s brother was there, he said, and led some children outside when the shooting began.
“He’s pretty shaken up,” Poulin said Thursday. “And I realize today, like, wow, I was very close to being there. And a lot of people were hurt, I know that.
Less than 15 minutes later, numerous 911 calls began coming in from Schemengees Bar and Grille, a few miles away.
Schools and businesses remain closed
Schools, doctor’s offices and grocery stores closed and people remained behind locked doors in towns up to 50 miles from the scene of the shootings. Maine’s largest city, Portland, closed its public buildings, while the Canada Border Services Agency issued a “arms and danger” alert to its agents stationed along the U.S. border.
The streets of Lewiston and surrounding communities were virtually deserted Thursday evening.
Schools in Lewiston were to remain closed Friday, while those in Portland would decide in the morning whether to open or not. Bates College in Lewiston also canceled classes Friday and postponed the inauguration of the school’s first black president.
April Stevens lives in the same neighborhood where one of the shootings took place. She turned on all her lights during the night and locked her doors. She knew someone killed at the bar and another person injured who needed surgery.
“We’re praying for everyone,” Stevens said through tears.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.