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Maine shooting gunman Robert Card found dead after 2-day manhunt, officials say

New details on Maine mass shootings' suspect
New details released on suspect in Maine mass shootings 02:57

The gunman in the mass shootings that killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, 40-year-old Robert Card, has been found dead, the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday.

The body of the gunman was found by law enforcement near a recycling plant in the Lisbon area, multiple law enforcement sources confirmed to CBS News. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Mike Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a news conference Friday night. 

Sauschuck said the body was located at about 7:45 p.m. local time near the Androscoggin River in Lisbon, a town about 8 miles southwest of Lewiston. The suspect's vehicle, a white Subaru Outback, had earlier been found abandoned by a boat launch on the river.

How and where he was found

Officials said Saturday that the gunman's body was found in the overflow parking lot at the Maine Recycling Corporation, in the back of a tractor-trailer. While authorities had twice earlier searched the business, where the gunman worked at some point, Sauschuck said they had not searched the overflow lot. The owner of the property had contacted police, Sauschuck said, asking them to check.

Sauschuck said Saturday that the first three people to contact authorities to identify the man in photos released of the gunman were members of his family.

"It would have been detrimental if they didn't come forward immediately to let us know who this individual it was," he said. "And how difficult a decision is that to make? When you've lost this many people, it's not that difficult — but you can imagine, 'it's my family member was involved in that traumatic event, and I want to let people know.' They should be acknowledged." 

While he declined to specify who the family members were, Sauschuck said the family has been "very, very cooperative."

Maine Gov. Janet Mills told reporters that she called President Biden to inform him of Card being found dead. 

"Like many people, I'm breathing a sigh of relief that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone," Mills said. 

In his own statement late Friday night, President Biden called it "a tragic two days – not just for Lewiston, Maine, but for our entire country." 

"Americans should not have to live like this," Mr. Biden said. "I once again call on Republicans in Congress to fulfill their obligation to keep the American people safe. Until that day comes, I will continue to do everything in my power to end this gun violence epidemic. The Lewiston community – and all Americans – deserve nothing less."

The manhunt and investigation

Hundreds of state and local police and federal agents had been involved in the manhunt since the shootings Wednesday night. 

For several hours Thursday night, heavily armed police had surrounded a house in Bowdoin, a small town where the gunman was from, about 35 minutes from Lewiston, but they completed their search there without finding him. 

On Friday, police announced divers were conducting underwater searches near the location where his vehicle was found abandoned. 

Authorities had recovered a weapon from the gunman's abandoned vehicle, law enforcement sources told CBS News' Pat Milton and Robert Legare earlier Friday, and Sauschuck said Saturday that authorities recovered a long gun, but could not confirm the make or model. The firearm was legally purchased, a law enforcement source confirmed to CBS News. It wasn't clear if the recovered weapon was used in the shooting.

Sauschuck said some of the firearms recovered had been purchased recently, but others had been bought years ago.

CBS News also learned that investigators located the gunman's cellphone and were trying to crack it and pore over his online activity, including text messages and emails, hoping to find clues as to his motive in the shootings. Officials confirmed during Saturday's briefing they are working to access the phone.

Card, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, had recently reported experiencing mental health issues, including hearing voices, and threatened to shoot up a military base in Saco, a law enforcement bulletin seen by CBS News said. In July, he started "behaving erratically," a New York Army National Guard spokesperson told CBS News, and he was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks. Officials said Saturday they have not found any records of him being forcibly committed for treatment. Without a forcible commitment, Sauschuck said, mental health treatment would not have appeared on a background check for a legal firearm purchase.

Sauschuck said there was a mental health aspect to the shootings.

Victims mourned after mass shooting

The deadly rampage began a little before 7 p.m. local time on Wednesday night when police received a 911 call about a shooting at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley in Lewiston. Police later said six men and one woman there died of apparent gunshot wounds. Three people were in critical care, Sauschuck said.

Just over 10 minutes later, at 7:08 p.m., police were called to the scene of another shooting a few miles away, at Schemengees Bar and Grille. Eight people there were killed, police said. Three other people died at area hospitals.

Police said the gunman fled in the aftermath of the shootings and they warned that he "should be considered armed and dangerous."

Several communities in the area spent the days since the shooting under shelter-in-place warnings, with schools canceled and residents urged to stay indoors. The shelter-in-place orders were lifted earlier Friday.

"For me, it was incomprehensible that this can happen in Lewiston, Maine," Mayor Carl Sheline told CBS News Boston.

"Our city is facing this incredible loss and I am completely broken for our city, and my heart really goes out to the victims and their families right now," Sheline said.

Investigators were looking into whether the gunman may have been targeting a specific individual, who is believed to be a current or former girlfriend, two U.S. officials and a former high-ranking official told CBS News. It wasn't clear if she was at either of the two locations that were attacked.

The victims of the mass shooting ranged in age from 14 to 76, the medical examiner said. They included a bar manager who tried to stop the gunman; a bowling instructor who was teaching kids; a beloved father; a 14-year-old and his dad; and several people taking part in a cornhole tournament for deaf athletes.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that "although we are grateful that the suspect in this case no longer poses a threat, we know that nothing can bring back the lives he stole or undo the terror he inflicted."   

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine issued a statement thanking "the brave first responders who worked night and day to find this killer."

A community vigil was planned for Sunday night, said the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Julia Kimani, Jeff Pegues, Andres Triay, Robert Legare and Matthew Mosk contributed to this report. 

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