NEW YORK — Police in New York City monitoring the mass shooting in Maine that killed 18 people are on the lookout for possible copycats — and the real thing.
A manhunt is still on for shooting suspect Robert Card, and although authorities have established no links between the accused killer and New York City, NYPD officials said they aren’t taking any chances.
“While this is not our investigation, we don’t have the luxury of waiting for answers to these questions,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban. “We have kept a close watch here. We made a decision to marshal our resources. There is no specific threat to New York City, but to me, we could not remain idle.”
The heightened alert comes after Card, 40, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, opened fire inside a bar and bowling alley in Lewiston, killing 18 people and wounding more than a dozen, officials said.
Gunfire initially erupted Wednesday inside the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley just before 7 p.m., sending terrified guests, among them children, rushing for cover.
Police said the gunman then targeted Schemengees Bar & Grille, a restaurant less than five miles away from the bowling alley.
The shooting marked the nation’s 36th mass killing since January, and the 10th deadliest in U.S. history.
Out of an abundance of caution, the NYPD has made sure cops monitoring the bridges and tunnels into New York City have Card’s vehicle information, Caban said.
They also coordinated with the MTA, Port Authority and Bridge and Tunnel Authority to make sure everyone knew who and what to look for.
Every police officer in the NYPD was also sent a picture of Card on their cellphone to keep an eye out for him. Police are also out in force today, monitoring sensitive locations to make sure Card doesn’t show up or that there are no copycats, the commissioner said.
About 900 cops have been deployed to sensitive spots throughout the city, he said.
Rebecca Weiner, the deputy commissioner of Intelligence and counterterrorism, said NYPD detectives were sent to Maine to help coordinate information and help in the investigation.