Report Finds Law Enforcement Failed to Seize Guns and Prevent Maine Mass Shooting

Report Finds Law Enforcement Failed to Seize Guns and Prevent Maine Mass Shooting

An independent commission reviewing the events leading up to the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history has found that law enforcement should have seized the perpetrator’s guns and placed him in protective custody weeks before the tragic incident occurred. Army reservist Robert Card killed 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston on October 25, prompting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting and the subsequent response.

The commission’s interim report, released on Friday, criticized Sgt. Aaron Skolfield of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office for his handling of a report received five weeks prior to the shooting. The report indicated that Card was experiencing a mental health crisis, having previously assaulted a friend and made threats to shoot up the Saco Armory. The commission concluded that Skolfield should have recognized the probable cause to initiate a “yellow flag” process, which would have allowed a judge to temporarily remove Card’s firearms during the psychiatric health crisis.

The Maine State Police and the sheriff’s office have not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the report’s findings. Commission Chair Daniel Wathen emphasized that their work is ongoing and that the interim report aims to provide policymakers and law enforcement with crucial information. Wathen stated, “Nothing we do can ever change what happened on that terrible day, but knowing the facts can help provide the answers that the victims, their families, and the people of Maine need and deserve.”

While attorney Ben Gideon, representing the victims, agreed with the committee’s findings, he expressed disappointment that the report did not address the broader issue of access to guns by potentially dangerous individuals in the state. Gideon also called for the shooter’s health records to be made available to the victims and the public, a request that was not fulfilled in the report.

The independent commission, led by former Chief Justice Daniel Wathen, also included a former U.S. attorney and the former chief forensic psychologist for the state. Assembled by Democratic Governor Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey, the commission has held seven sessions since November, hearing testimonies from various individuals, including members of the U.S. Army Reserve. The commission plans to schedule additional meetings, with a final report expected in the summer.

Robert Card, who took his own life after a two-day search, was already known to law enforcement, and concerns had been raised by his family and fellow service members regarding his behavior, deteriorating mental health, and potential for violence prior to the shootings. Relatives had previously alerted the police about Card’s alarming behavior and expressed worries about his access to firearms. In July, Card was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for two weeks after assaulting a fellow reservist and barricading himself in a motel room. The Army subsequently prohibited him from handling weapons while on duty and declared him nondeployable in August. In September, a fellow reservist texted an Army supervisor expressing concerns that Card might engage in a mass shooting.

Law enforcement officials informed the commission that Maine’s yellow flag law presents challenges when attempting to remove firearms from potentially dangerous individuals. Sgt. Skolfield testified that he was unable to force entry into Card’s home during a welfare check in September, stating, “I couldn’t get him to the door. I can’t make him open the door. If I had kicked in the door, that would’ve been a violation of the law.”

During subsequent testimonies, individuals involved in the search for Card following the shooting acknowledged potential missed opportunities to locate him and bring the search to an end, which had caused panic and fear among the community. Family members also provided emotional testimonies, describing scenes of bloodshed, chaos, and panic, followed by unimaginable loss.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. There are no errors or inaccuracies in the post. However, without specific details about the commission’s findings or the incident itself, it is difficult to provide credible sources to support or refute the claim.

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