LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Authorities say a U.S. Army reservist fatally shot 18 people at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night. A massive search for 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin was underway.
The shooting in the state’s second-largest city is the 36th mass killing in the United States this year, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. The database includes every mass killing since 2006 from all weapons in which four or more people, excluding the offender, were killed within a 24-hour time frame.
Here’s what we know about the suspect and where the shooting happened:
WHO IS THE SUSPECT?
A murder warrant is out for the arrest of 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin, Maine, in the attack in Lewiston that left 18 people dead and 13 people injured.
Maine State Police say Card is wanted on eight counts of murder. Ten victims remain unidentified. As more victims are identified, the counts against Card will probably grow to 18, Maine State Police Col. William Ross said.
Card, still at large, was considered armed and dangerous, police said. A telephone number listed for Card in public records was not in service.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that Card was an Army reservist who had been taken by police for an evaluation after military officials became concerned that he was acting erratically in mid-July.
The official said commanders in the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment became concerned about Card’s behavior while the unit was training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York.
The official said military commanders became concerned about Card’s safety and asked for the police to be called. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss information about the incident and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
WHERE DID THE SHOOTING TAKE PLACE?
Lewiston Police said the shooting took place on Wednesday evening at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. A number of parents and children were at Sparetime as part of a children’s bowling league.
The bowling alley is about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) north of the Bates College campus, on the outskirts of downtown, and offers traditional tenpin bowling and candlepin, a variant found in New England.
Lewiston is the second-largest city in Maine with a population of 37,000.
Maine has a longstanding culture of gun ownership tied to traditions of hunting and sport shooting. The state doesn’t require permits to carry guns.
The death toll was staggering for a state that in 2022 had 29 homicides the entire year.
WHAT IS THE AFTERMATH?
Authorities launched a massive search for Card on land and water. The Coast Guard sent out a patrol boat Thursday morning along the Kennebec River but after hours of searching, they found nothing out of the ordinary, according to Chief Petty Officer Ryan Smith.
The Canada Border Services Agency has issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada-U.S. border, warning them to be on the lookout for Card.
Maine public safety authorities issued an alert on Thursday afternoon extending a shelter-in- place order for Androscoggin County and Northern Sagadahoc County. Maine Emergency Management Agency called on residents to make sure homes and vehicles were secured.
Maine’s largest city, Portland, closed its public buildings.
Central Maine Healthcare said Thursday it was closing all physician offices in Lewiston and six surrounding communities for the day. All elective surgery was canceled at Central Maine Medical Center.
President Biden has ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Monday.