Maine Governor Janet Mills faced intense questioning at the latest press briefing on the Lewiston mass shooting, with reporters pressing for an explanation on reports that multiple warning signs about the gunman were ignored.
One reporter brought up that local police didn’t share certain pertinent information about the suspected shooter, Robert Card, with federal authorities ahead of the tragedy — which perhaps could have prevented it altogether, some argued.
Reports have emerged that Card had been denied the ability to buy a gun silencer, that his family in May had alerted the local sheriff about his mental health while in possession of firearms, and that police had conducted a welfare check in September, a month before the shooting that killed 18 lives and injured over a dozen others.
Governor Mills was cut off as she began to ask the reporter for clarification, with CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz raising his voice.
“Governor, you really don’t know what we’re talking about?” he asked. “Is that what you’re going to stand here and tell us? Governor, everyone here wants to know that answer.”
“It’s under investigation,” Gov Mills replied, to the objection of journalists supporting Prokupecz’s plea.
Prokupecz pressed: “We know that there is an alarming concern from the law enforcement community that activity and information here was ignored. And the simple answer is why was that done and are you concerned about that?”
“I think those kinds of facts have yet to be determined. You’re making assumptions. I’m not one to make assumptions,” the governor replied.
As more time passes since the 40-year-old suspected shooter was found dead, more shocking missed warning signs leading up to the shooting have been revealed, showcasing how Card may have slipped through the cracks of the system.
It was previously reported that Card underwent a mental health assessment last summer when he started displaying erratic behaviour at an army training facility in New York, officials said. He also reportedly spent two weeks in a mental health facility; the public safety commissioner clarified that he had not been “forcibly committed” to the facility, insinuating different gun laws were applicable.
The Associated Press also reported that a statewide alert for Card had been issued weeks before the deadly rampage, but local law enforcement had been unable to find him. Reports have also shown that Maine police were warned that he would “snap and commit a mass shooting” less than six weeks before he allegedly went on his shooting spree.