Three of the Maine shooting suspect’s relatives called police to name him before official ID

Officials said on Saturday that three relatives of Maine mass shooting suspect Robert Card were among the first to “positively identify” him after news broke out of a massacre that left 18 dead and 13 others injured.

Police previously said that shortly after photos of the suspected shooter were released to the public — which were posted just an hour after a 911 of the first shooting — Lewiston Police Department received a call identifying the man in photos as 40-year-old Card. Hours after Card was found dead from an apparent suicide following a dayslong manhunt, officials confirmed that his family members had identified him in the photos.

“This family has been incredibly cooperative,” said Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck at a Saturday morning press conference.

The public safety commissioner also touched on another aspect related to Card’s family members: the mysterious note.

He said the suspect left a note for “a loved one,” which contained information like the passcode for Card’s phone and bank account numbers. Mr Sauschuck clarified that although this was “not explicit an suicide note,” the “tone and tenor was that the individual was not going to be around.”

Mystery still clouds the tragic series of events that have plagued Maine communities. Mr Sauschuck added that officials believe there was a “mental health component” to the shooting, but the motive remains uncertain.

Reports of an active shooter poured in at 6.56pm on Wednesday at Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley in Lewiston. Less than 20 minutes later, more 911 calls alerted police to another active shooting at Schemengees Bar and Grill, just four miles from the bowling alley. Why Card appeared to target those specific sites remains unknown, police said, but they emphasised that both locations are popular local spots.

Just after 8pm, Maine State Police urged Lewiston residents to shelter in place. Minutes later, police released photos of the suspected shooter to the media. Just an hour and a half later, calls identifying Card came in.

Two hours later, at 9.56pm, state police officers alerted that they had found a “vehicle of interest” in Lisbon at Pejepscot Boat Launch, which was registered to the suspect.

Maine Shooting suspect Robert Card
Maine Shooting suspect Robert Card

It wasn’t until 7.45pm on Friday that state police found Card in a box trailer in the overflow lot of Maine Recycling Corporation in Lisbon, where Card allegedly used to work. The owner of the plant had pointed officials to look in the trailers. Incredibly, police had already twice “cleared” that area, but found the suspect on the third sweep located in one of the 55 to 60 trailers in the lot, Mr Sauschuck said on Saturday.

Officials also confirmed on Saturday that they recovered two firearms with Card in the trailer and one firearm in the Subaru. Those guns appear to have been “legally purchased” by Card, police said.