Just six days before committing a mass shooting in Lewiston, killing 18 people, Robert R. Card II was involved in a verbal altercation at a New Hampshire bakery, Hudson Police Chief Tad Dionne disclosed on Friday. This incident occurred at the Country Kitchen Bakery Outlet on October 19, where Card reportedly made threatening remarks to the staff.
According to Dionne, the bakery employees did not report the altercation to the police at the time but came forward after Card was identified as the perpetrator of the October 25 mass shooting at a bowling alley and a bar. Card had warned the employees, “Maybe you will be the ones I snap on,” and made bizarre comments about not being gay or a pedophile but needing assistance with bread delivery.
Officials noted that in the months preceding the shootings, Card had grown increasingly paranoid, fearing he was being labeled a pedophile. This incident at the bakery was initially reported by the Manchester Union-Leader and the Portland Press Herald.
Card revisited the bakery on October 24 to complete a delivery, with no issues reported. Dionne’s department spoke with the bakery workers late on October 25 or early on October 26 and relayed the information to state authorities. Dionne remarked that verbal confrontations in workplaces are often not taken seriously and hence underreported to police.
The bakery, when contacted on Friday, declined to comment on the incident. It remains unclear who Card was working for as a delivery driver. LePage Bakery in Maine, mentioned in some reports as Card’s employer, denied he worked for them.
The October 25th shootings in Lewiston followed months of Card’s erratic and threatening behavior, which had been reported to law enforcement by his son, other relatives, and fellow Army Reservists, starting in May.
Governor Janet Mills has established a seven-member independent commission to investigate the events leading up to the shootings, including the months prior and the police response.
Dionne stated that even if his department had been aware of Card’s comments on October 19, it might not have led to immediate action. Card could potentially have faced misdemeanor threat charges, but the process of gathering evidence and obtaining court approval for a misdemeanor complaint can be lengthy. Additionally, misdemeanor cases are generally not prioritized over serious assault or felony investigations. Dionne also mentioned that they would not have sought extradition of Card from Maine for a misdemeanor offense. Lewiston is approximately 135 miles from Hudson.
Dionne concluded, “I could never say with any certainty that had this situation in Hudson been reported on the 19th, it would make any difference at all.”