Robert Card, 40, was found days after a dayslong search conducted by local and federal law enforcement after at least 18 people were killed and 13 others were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting of the year.
Parts of Maine, like Lewiston and Bowdoin, were under shelter-in-place advisories, as the community is rattled by the tragedy — and waits for Card to be caught. Police said he should be considered “armed and dangerous”.
He was believed to be carrying a high-powered assault-style rifle and possibly extra ammunition. Investigators are still on the hunt for Card, as of Thursday afternoon.
Here’s how the tragedy unfolded.
Months before the deadly attacks, Card, a US Army reservist, was reportedly held in a mental facility for weeks over the summer. He was taken by police in July for evaluation at the urging of concerned military officials. In the same vein, Karen Card, the suspect’s sister-in-law, revealed to The Daily Beast that “in the past year, he had an acute episode of mental health, and it’s been a struggle.” Since his release from the facility, she added, “things have kind of gone downhill recently,”
Minutes before 7pm on Wednesday night, shots were fired at Just-in-Time Recreation, a bowling alley on Mollison Way in Lewiston, Maine.
At 7.08pm, multiple 911 calls reported an active shooter at Schemengees Bar and Grill on Lincoln Street, just four miles from the bowling alley.
Just after 8pm, Maine State Police urged Lewiston residents to shelter in place. “Please stay inside your home with the doors locked. Law enforcement is currently investigating at multiple locations,” the department wrote.
At 8.06pm, police released a photo of the shooter to the media, and an hour and a half later, the Lewiston Police Department received a call identifying the man in photos as Card. Among the first calls were from Card’s family members, officials revealed on Saturday morning.
Two hours later, at 9.56pm, state police officers alerted that they had found a “vehicle of interest” in Lisbon at Pejepscot Boat Launch, prompting the shelter-in-place advisory to extend to Lisbon. The Lewiston Police posted a photo on Wednesday night of a white Subaru station wagon. That vehicle was registered to Card, police said. A long gun was found in the vehicle.
At 10pm, Androscoggin County officials implemented a shelter-in-place order for the entire county. The manhunt continued into the next day.
At 6am on Thursday, state police ordered residents of Bowdoin — where Card lives — to shelter in place. At that time, the department reported that over 100 investigators were searching for Card.
At a 10.30am press conference on Thursday, officials confirmed that the shooting had taken 18 lives and left 13 others injured. An arrest warrant for eight counts of murder was issued for Card. State Police Colonel William Ross explained that more counts will be added as more people have been identified — as of Thursday morning, 10 remained unidentified.
By Friday evening, police had found Card’s body — in a box trailer in Maine Recycling Corporation’s overflow lot. Authorities believe he took his own life. It’s not entirely clear how Card wound up at the recycling facility, but it is believed that he walked from the boat landing via a trail that linked the two locations.
Authorities revealed that they had twice “cleared” the facility before receiving a call from the recycling plant’s owner, who said that Card knew the facility well. Police did not confirm whether Card was working there at the time of the shooting, but reports have claimed that he had recently been fired from the plant. So, police searched through 55 to 60 trailers in the lot, leading them to Card, who was found alongside two fireamrs.
“He is dead,” Maine Gov Janet Mills said at a news conference after the search concluded, as she thanked the officers involved in the manhunt. “Like many people, I am breathing a sign of relief tonight, knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone... Now is the time to heal.”
President Biden also remarked on the tragedy, calling on Congress to pass gun safety legislation. “Americans should not have to live like this,” Mr Biden wrote in a statement on Saturday. “I call on Republicans in Congress to fulfill their obligation to keep Americans safe. And I will continue doing everything in my power to end this gun violence epidemic. The Lewiston community, and all Americans, deserve nothing less.”