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Manhunt for Maine mass shooting suspect continues as details on victims emerge

Suspect in Maine shootings found dead
Suspect in Maine shootings found dead, officials say 12:41

Update: Suspect Robert Card was found dead Friday night, officials said. Read the latest here. Our earlier coverage is below.

The manhunt continued Friday for the suspect in the mass shooting that killed 18 people and injured 13 in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night. As investigators looked for the suspect, a shelter-in-place order put in place in the immediate aftermath of the shooting was lifted, but hunting was prohibited in four communities starting Saturday, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said Friday.

Divers were expected to search part of the Androscoggin River near where 40-year-old Robert Card's car was found in Lisbon, Maine, some 7 miles southeast of Lewiston, Sauschuck said. Search crews on land started examining the area Friday.

"They could be dragging a diver behind them literally while that diver is checking for evidence, checking for potential bodies," Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck said authorities don't know if the suspect is in the water and that the river is just one area being searched.

"We have a lot of other irons in the fire," he said.

As the search continued Friday, authorities publicly identified all 18 victims. They range in age from 14 to 76 and were identified as Tricia Asselin, 53; William Brackett, 48; Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40; Thomas Conrad, 34; Michael Deslauriers II, 51; Maxx Hathaway, 35; Bryan MacFarlane, 41; Keith Macneir, 64; Ronald Morin, 55; Joshua Seal, 36; Arthur Strout, 42; wife and husband Lucille Violette, 73, and Robert Violette, 76; Stephen Vozzella, 45; Jason Walker, 51; Joseph Walker, 57; and son and father Aaron Young, 14, and William Young, 44.

Meanwhile, a note that investigators found inside the suspect's home has been described as a possible suicide note addressed to his son, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the note confirmed to CBS News.

Police said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. Investigators are aware the suspect had access to numerous firearms, two law enforcement sources told CBS News' Robert Legare and Michael Kaplan. According to one of those sources, the number of firearms the suspect could access was potentially into the double digits.

Authorities recovered a weapon from the suspect's abandoned vehicle, law enforcement sources told CBS News' Pat Milton and Legare. The firearm was legally purchased, a law enforcement source confirmed. It wasn't clear if the recovered weapon was used in the shooting.

CBS News has also learned that investigators have located Card's cellphone and will try to crack it and pore over his online activity, including text messages and emails, hoping to find clues as to his whereabouts. Authorities said they have received more than 530 leads.

Members of law enforcement arrive at a farm in Lisbon Falls, Maine, as the search for the suspect in the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston continues, Oct. 27, 2023.
Members of law enforcement arrive at a farm in Lisbon Falls, Maine, as the search for the suspect in the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston continues, Oct. 27, 2023. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Hundreds of police officers and federal agents are involved in the search.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told President Biden more than 200 personnel from the bureau were in Maine to support the investigation and the manhunt, according to the White House. The assistance includes processing crime scenes and helping people affected by the shooting, the special agent in charge of the bureau's Boston field office said in a statement.

On Thursday night, heavily armed law enforcement officers were seen surrounding a house in the nearby town of Bowdoin, where the suspect is from, and the Maine Department of Public Safety confirmed it was part of the investigation. But officers completed their search and cleared the scene without finding the suspect.

The deadly rampage began a little before 7 p.m. Wednesday evening at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley in Lewiston, where seven people were killed; six males and one female died of apparent gunshot wounds, state police Col. William Ross said during Thursday's news conference.

At the second shooting scene, Schemengees Bar and Grille, about 4 miles away, seven males inside the establishment and one outside were killed, Ross said. Three other people died at an area hospital.

"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 are looking into whether the suspect was 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 the individual was at either of the two locations that were attacked.

Law enforcement officials gather in the road leading to the home of the suspect being sought in connection with two mass shooting, Oct. 26, 2023, in Bowdoin, Maine.
Law enforcement officials gather in the road leading to the home of the suspect being sought in connection with two mass shooting, Oct. 26, 2023, in Bowdoin, Maine. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Police received a 911 call about the bowling alley shooting at about 6:56 p.m. EDT, Ross said. Just over 10 minutes later, at about 7:08 p.m., police received multiple calls about the second shooting. Police from Lewiston and the surrounding area responded to the shooting.

The weapon used in the shooting was a semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine and scope, CBS News confirmed.

Meanwhile, details about many of the shooting victims were beginning to emerge in the aftermath of the shooting.

Who are the Maine shooting victims?

Arthur Strout, a 42-year-old father of three, was at Schemengees playing pool with his father, Arthur Barnard, who told CBS News he left the bar before the shooting that claimed his son's life. Strout was described by his family as "a great dad."

Those who knew 76-year-old Bob Violette told CBS News Boston he was gunned down doing what he loved: bowling. Violette was teaching at a youth bowling league inside Sparetime Recreation, a friend said, when the gunfire erupted.

Michael Deslauriers II was bowling with family and friends at Sparetime at the time of the shooting. Michael's father confirmed to CBS News Boston that he is one of the deceased. Michael Deslauriers Sr. said his son and a friend made sure their wives and several children were safe before charging at the shooter. He said both men were killed.

Joseph Walker was a bar manager at Schemengees and was working when the shooting began. His father confirmed his death to CBS News. Auburn City Councilor Leroy Walker told CBS News Boston that Joseph Walker was killed as he went after the gunman with a butcher knife.

Karen Hopkins, executive director of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth, Maine, said on Facebook that, "We lost four of our cherished community members in (the) Lewiston shooting. Including two fathers of children in our programs." She said the four were Joshua Seal, Billy Brackett, Steve Vozzella and Bryan MacFarlane. CBS Portland affiliate WGME-TV says Seal was "a familiar face during the pandemic as an interpreter for the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention."

The schools superintendent in Winthrop, Maine, Jim Hodgkin, said in a letter to parents that a freshman at the high school, his father and an uncle of another high school student were killed in Lewiston.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, tweeted that Peyton Brewer-Ross, a member of the company's pipe shop test crew, was slain in the shooting. The company said he was "a valuable part of our team" and "will be sorely missed."

Who is the Maine shooting suspect?

The suspect, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army Reserve, is a petroleum supply specialist, according to the Army. He enlisted in the Reserve in 2002 and doesn't have any combat deployments. He is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment in Saco, Maine, U.S. Army spokesperson Bryce Dubee told CBS News.

A Maine law enforcement bulletin seen by CBS News had said the suspect was a trained firearms instructor, but an updated bulletin said there's no indication that he was an instructor.

He recently reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, according to the bulletin. He had also threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco, the bulletin said, and he was reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this summer.

In July, while training at the U.S. Military Academy in New York, leaders of the suspect's unit told garrison staff that he was "behaving erratically," a New York Army National Guard spokesperson told CBS News.

The New York State Police was contacted and took the suspect to an Army hospital at West Point to be evaluated, the spokesperson told CBS News. When asked about the incident, the state police told CBS News it was an active investigation and declined to comment.

Dubee, the Army spokesperson, told CBS News there aren't any records to indicate the suspect participated in the West Point training. A U.S. official said this is because almost within the first day, he started acting erratically.

Authorities shared images of the suspect and asked people to contact them "if you recognize this individual."

Law enforcement officials released a photo of a man with a semiautomatic rifle suspected in a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine
Law enforcement officials released a photo of a man with a semiautomatic rifle they were calling a suspect in a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, on Oct. 25, 2023. Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office via REUTERS

On Thursday morning, the police chief for Lisbon urged people to contact authorities if they see anything suspicious.

"If something isn't right, if you look out in your yard and you're like, that door wasn't open or, you know, that trailer wasn't positioned that way, if you see anything suspicious, please call us because that's how we're going to be able to work together and be able to get to the bottom of this," Chief Ryan McGee told reporters.

The suspect has connections to Massachusetts, according to CBS News Boston sources, and Massachusetts State Police and federal agents were staged at the Maine border. Canada's Border Services Agency issued an "armed and dangerous" alert to its officers along the U.S.-Canada border, according to the Canadian Press.

According to the Maine law enforcement bulletin, a white Subaru Outback registered to the suspect was found. Maine State Police said earlier the "vehicle of interest" was recovered by police in Lisbon.

The vehicle was found near a boat launch near the Androscoggin River, which flows into the Kennebec River, CBS News confirmed.

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching waterways for the suspect's boat with a response vessel from Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and a fixed-wing aircraft from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, CBS News confirmed.

Two other vehicles were registered to the suspect in Maine: a 2022 Yamaha motorcycle and a 2019 Sea-Doo green boat, according to the bulletin.

Lewiston shooting suspect vehicle
Police in Lewiston, Maine, have released a photo of this car wanted in connection with an active shooting situation on Oct. 25, 2023.  Lewiston Police Department

State police urged residents of Lewiston and Lisbon to shelter in place. "Please stay inside your home with the doors locked," they wrote on social media.

Authorities later expanded the shelter-in-place advisory to Bowdoin. "Please stay inside your homes while more than 100 investigators, both local and federal work to locate Robert Card," they said.

The city of Auburn, Maine, which borders Lewiston to the west, also advised residents to shelter in place. Lewiston is about 45 minutes north of Portland.

Numerous schools in the region closed Thursday due to the manhunt, WGME reported. Portland is among the places where schools were shut.

Mass Shooting in Lewiston, Maine
Heavily armed police stand at the ambulance entrance to the Central Maine Medical Center on Oct. 26, 2023, in Lewiston, Maine, where many of the shooting victims were brought. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

"My heart is crushed"

An owner of Schemengees said in a Facebook post: "My heart is crushed. I am at a loss for words. In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason. We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this.  Sending out prayers to everyone."

One man at the bowling alley said he heard about 10 shots and thought the first was a balloon popping. "I had my back turned to the door. And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon — he was holding a weapon — I just booked it," he told The Associated Press, adding that he then hurried down the length of the alley and hid in the machinery behind the pins.

Maine has had between 16 to 29 homicides each year since 2012, according to the Reuters news service, citing state police.

A police officer walks along a rural road during a manhunt for the Maine mass shooting suspect, Oct. 26, 2023, in Lisbon, Maine.
A police officer walks along a rural road during a manhunt for the Maine mass shooting suspect, Oct. 26, 2023, in Lisbon, Maine. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Mr. Biden was initially briefed on the shooting during Wednesday night's state dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday afternoon. Mr. Biden also spoke with Maine Governor Janet Mills; the state's senators, Susan Collins and Angus King; and one of its members of Congress, Jared Golden.

Mr. Biden called the shooting a tragedy and urged Republicans in Congress to work with his administration to pass gun control measures including an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

In a major reversal, Golden, a Democrat, called on Congress to ban assault weapons in the wake of the shooting. 

"I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war, like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime," Golden said at a news conference. "The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing in my hometown of Lewiston, Maine."

-Evan Coan, Eleanor Watson, Jeff Pegues and Jericka Duncan contributed reporting. The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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