Five months prior to the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history, the family of Robert Card, the gunman, alerted the local sheriff about their concerns regarding his deteriorating mental health and access to firearms, authorities revealed on Monday. The Sagadohoc County Sheriff’s Office then contacted Card’s Army Reserve unit, who assured them that they would address the issue and ensure he received medical attention, according to Sheriff Joel Merry. The family had expressed concerns about Card’s mental health as early as the beginning of this year, and the sheriff’s office was contacted in May, marking the first in a series of interactions with the 40-year-old firearms instructor.
Card, who killed 18 people and injured 13 others in a Lewiston bowling alley and a bar last Wednesday, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot after a two-day search. Officials disclosed that Card had undergone a mental health evaluation last summer following erratic behavior at an Army training facility in New York. Documents released by the sheriff’s office on Monday provided a detailed timeline of warning signs and unsuccessful attempts to intervene prior to the shooting.
In September, a sheriff’s deputy conducted a wellness check at Card’s home at the request of the reserve unit but was unable to locate him. The sheriff’s department subsequently issued a statewide alert, warning that Card was armed and dangerous. By this time, Card’s reserve unit had decided to confiscate his military-issued firearms. The unit commander assured the sheriff’s department that efforts were being made to get Card treatment and suggested giving him time alone.
During the investigation, authorities recovered multiple weapons, including a Ruger SFAR rifle found in Card’s car, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle, and a Smith & Wesson M&P .40-caliber handgun with his body. It is believed that Card legally purchased these firearms. Three months ago, he attempted to acquire a suppressor, or silencer, but was denied due to his mental health history.
The motive for the massacre remains unknown, and investigators are focusing on Card’s mental health background. Governor Janet Mills held a news conference on Monday, where she declined to provide specific details about the ongoing investigation but stated that Maine gun control laws would be revisited.