Following a deadly mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, which claimed the lives of at least 18 people and left over a dozen injured on Wednesday night, officials in the region are urging residents to remain indoors as the search for a person of interest intensifies.
The identified suspect in the shootings is 40-year-old Robert R. Card. Lewiston Police have issued a warning that he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque emphasized the resolve of law enforcement in capturing Card, urging residents to stay home and seek shelter with their loved ones. As a precaution, schools have been closed, and alert protocols have been extended beyond Maine, with authorities in Massachusetts and even New York City remaining vigilant.
The incident began shortly before 7 p.m. with a shooting at a bowling alley, followed by further gunfire at a bar and restaurant around 8 p.m. Surveillance images released by the sheriff’s office depict an armed individual believed to be the suspect entering the bowling alley. By 8:09 p.m., Maine State Police had declared an active shooter situation, instructing residents to secure their locations.
Witnesses described a nightmarish scene, with sudden gunfire shattering the tranquility of a bowling night out. At first, some mistook the sound for a harmless balloon bursting, but the reality proved far more tragic.
Responding swiftly to the situation, local law enforcement identified a vehicle linked to the shootings in Lisbon, approximately eight miles from Lewiston. The vehicle’s driver-side door was left ajar, suggesting the suspect had fled, prompting a massive statewide response.
As the manhunt extends into its second day, the community grapples with profound shock and grief. Local hospitals are inundated with victims, and medical staff are stretched to capacity. Distressed family members seeking information about their loved ones have congregated at an Auburn middle school designated as a temporary gathering point.
The names of five victims from Wednesday night’s mass shooting have been confirmed by ABC News:
- Bob Violette, a youth bowling coach, was killed at the bowling alley.
- Tricia Asselin also lost her life at the bowling alley, according to her family.
- Joseph Walker, the manager of Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, was killed, and it was the second location targeted.
- Steven Vozzella, part of a group of deaf individuals playing cornhole at the bar, was among the victims.
- Bill Bracket, another member of the gathering playing cornhole at the bar, also lost his life.
A comprehensive dragnet operation is underway, involving ground and aerial efforts as numerous law enforcement agencies join forces to locate the suspected gunman, Robert Card.
Over 350 law enforcement personnel are actively participating in the search. Evidence response teams are on-site, meticulously processing the extensive crime scenes where the shootings occurred.
Investigators are in the early stages of probing any potential mental health issues that Card may have experienced and how he gained access to a weapon. As of now, a motive remains undetermined.