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Who was Robert Card? Confirmed details on Maine gunman

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Robert Card, the gunman in the mass shooting Wednesday that killed 18 people and left another 13 injured at two locations in Lewiston, Maine, has been found dead, multiple law enforcement sources told CBS News on Friday night.  

He fled in the aftermath of the shootings, police said, and law enforcement launched a manhunt involving hundreds of state and local officers and at least 80 FBI agents. There was an arrest warrant out for him for multiple counts of murder.

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, Mike Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, said they had not searched the overflow lot. The owner of the property had contacted police, Sauschuck said, asking them to check.

Card was 40 years old and from Bowdoin, Maine, a town near Lewiston, officials said. He was described as being 5'11" tall and weighing 230 pounds. Card was a military reservist and had a history of mental health issues, records show.

Authorities shared several images and asked anyone with information to contact law enforcement. The Lewiston Police Department released photos on social media that showed the gunman holding a semiautomatic rifle at one of the shooting scenes Wednesday night, wearing a brown shirt, dark pants and light shoes. 

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.

Robert Card was named as a suspect in the mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine. Maine State Police

Card attended the University of Maine as an engineering student but it was unknown whether he graduated from the school, CBS Boston reported. His last known address was in Bowdoin.

He also had connections to Massachusetts, sources told CBS News Boston, but the exact nature of his ties to Massachusetts was not immediately clear. During the manhunt, Massachusetts State Police were stationed at the Maine border along with federal agents. Officers were also stationed along the Maine border and the New Hampshire border as a precaution.

Military background

Card was enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and had an active military ID, which gave him access to any military base, according to a Maine law enforcement bulletin seen by CBS News. Officials previously said Card was a firearms instructor in the Army Reserve stationed in Saco, Maine, but later said that was not the case.

A U.S. Army spokesperson told CBS News on Thursday that Card enlisted in the reserves in December 2002 and served as a petroleum supply specialist. 

He had no combat deployments, the spokesperson said. Card had received a number of awards for his service, including the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

Mental health history

Card recently reported experiencing mental health issues, including hearing voices, and threatened to shoot up a military base in Saco, the law enforcement bulletin said. He was also reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks over this past summer, according to the bulletin.

In mid-July, leaders of the U.S. Army Reserve's 3rd battalion told garrison staff that Card was "behaving erratically," a spokesperson for the New York Army National Guard said in a statement to CBS News on Thursday. The battalion was staying at the Camp Smith training site in Cortlandt while training at the U.S. Military Academy.  

"Out of concern for his safety, the unit requested that law enforcement be contacted," the spokesperson said in the statement. "New York State Police responded and transported Card to Keller Army Community Hospital at the United States Military Academy for medical evaluation."

One of Card's cousins, Michael Mercier, told CBS News Boston that Card had "a lot going on in his head" and called him a "schizophrenic."  

Gunman's access to firearms

The brand of the semiautomatic weapon used in the shooting was not immediately known, but officials described it as an assault rifle with an extended magazine and scope. The firearm found in the suspect's abandoned car was legally purchased, a law enforcement source confirmed.

Investigators have recovered multiple firearms from his residence, in addition to the gun found in his vehicle, a law enforcement source told CBS News.

Maine has a "yellow flag" law, which was passed in 2019 and states that police can "temporarily remove guns from people deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others" — but CBS Portland affiliate WGME explains it requires a two-step sign off from both a judge and a medical provider before weapons can be taken away,

Authorities have not confirmed if a "yellow flag" report was ever filed for Card. 

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said during a Thursday night press conference, "The yellow flag law should have been triggered," and that Card "should have been separated from his weapons."

Collins said she's sure after the fact that "this will be looked at very closely."

Questions about motive

A note found at Card's home in Maine was being described as a possible suicide note, addressed to his son, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the note.

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 intelligence officials confirm reports that the end of the relationship was "a significant destabilizing event" for Card. However, they also point out that he had "for months" been threatening to kill people, so the exact motive and triggers are still very much under investigation.

What happened in Lewiston?

The shootings began just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said at a news conference. Authorities said they responded to Schemengees Bar and Grille, a local restaurant, and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley, which are about 10 minutes by car from each other. 

Authorities said Thursday that seven people were killed at the bowling alley — one woman and six men — and eight people, all of whom were men, were killed at the bar and grill, with seven found inside the restaurant and one outside. All of them died from apparent gunshot wounds, Colonel William Ross, with the Maine State Police, said.

Ross said three more people died from their injuries while being transported to hospitals.

Mass Shooting in Lewiston, Maine
Police stand on Oct. 26, 2023, by the scene with an evidence bag in the parking lot of Schemengees Bar and Grille which was the scene of a mass shooting the night prior in  Lewiston, Maine. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

"We cannot and we will not rest in this endeavor," said Maine Gov. Janet Mills. Mills said she spoke with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the wake of the shootings. 

The police chief in Lisbon, Maine, near Lewiston, also urged the public to report anything that might seem suspicious in their neighborhoods.

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

State Police said a "vehicle of interest" was recovered by police in Lisbon. The vehicle matched a description of a vehicle that Card was known to have been driving following the shooting, a 2013 white Subaru Outback with a black bumper.

The car was found near a boat launch on the Androscoggin River, which flows into the Kennebec River, authorities said Thursday.

An underwater search of the river and shoreline began on Friday, authorities said at a news conference.

According to a law enforcement bulletin, Card has two other vehicles registered to him: a 2022 Yamaha motorcycle and a 2019 Sea Doo green boat. Both are registered in Maine.  

CBS News learned that U.S. Coast Guard crews out of Boothbay Harbor have been searching waterways for his boat, focusing on the northern shore of the river — one of the areas law enforcement is probing in their manhunt. 

The Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office, in Bath, said they have had "interactions" with Card in the past, CBS affiliate WGME reported. 

No sightings of Card were reported after Wednesday night, authorities said.

—CBS News' Pat Milton, Andy Triay and Rob Legare contributed reporting.

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