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18 killed, 13 injured in Maine mass shooting as police hunt for gunman

Multi-agency hunt for suspected Maine gunman
Multi-agency manhunt underway for suspect in Maine shootings 05:37

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

A manhunt continued Thursday for the suspect in the mass shooting that killed 18 people and injured 13 in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday. 

Authorities are attempting to locate 40-year-old Robert Card, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck told reporters during a news conference Thursday. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous. 

Hundreds of police and about 80 FBI agents, as well as federal marshals and other agencies, are involved in the search.

Residents of local communities remained under shelter-in-place warnings, and heavily armed law enforcement officers were seen surrounding a house in the nearby town of Bowdoin, where Card is from, Thursday night.

"Law enforcement is at a home in Bowdoin as part of the investigation into the Lewiston shootings and the search for Robert Card," the Maine Department of Public Safety confirmed. But officers completed their search and cleared the scene without finding the suspect.

Law enforcement officials gather in the road to search for suspect in Maine shooting
Law enforcement officials gather in the road in Bowdoin, Maine, leading to the home of a suspect being sought in connection with two mass shootings in nearby Lewiston, Oct. 26, 2023. Getty Images

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 the 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.

The names of some of the victims have been confirmed by CBS News. They include Arthur Strout, Joseph Walker, Bryan MacFarlane and Peyton Brewer-Ross. Officials haven't released many details about the victims.

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.

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 shootings.

"As you can imagine, this was a very fast-paced, fast-moving, very fluid scene, very dangerous scene that these guys and girls were going into," Ross said.

The weapon used in the shootings was a semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine and scope, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reported.

Suspect's military and mental health history

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, amid a massive search for the suspect, the police chief for Lisbon, Maine, some 7 miles southeast of Lewiston, 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 are 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' Milton reported.

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, Milton and CBS News' Robert Legare reported.

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, CBS Portland affiliate WGME-TV 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.

At Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, three patients from the shooting died, according to Dr. John Alexander, chief medical officer of Central Maine Healthcare. Three other patients were in critical condition, while five more were in stable condition and two additional patients were transferred to other hospitals.

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

President 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.

"He pledged full federal support in the wake of this horrific tragedy," Jean-Pierre said, adding that the president received another briefing Thursday morning.

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.

"For countless Americans who have survived gun violence and been traumatized by it, a shooting such as this reopens deep and painful wounds," the president said in a statement. "Far too many Americans have now had a family member killed or injured as a result of gun violence. That is not normal, and we cannot accept it."

The FBI is also responding to the shooting, an agency official told CBS News. 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has also been briefed. 

"The entire Department of Homeland Security grieves with the loved ones of those killed and injured, and stands with the brave law enforcement officers and first responders who are currently working to secure and safeguard the people of Lewiston," Mayorkas said in a statement.

Mills released a statement saying she was briefed on the situation. "I urge all people in the area to follow the direction of State and local enforcement," Mills said. "I will continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with public safety officials."

King's office said in a statement that he was "deeply sad for the city of Lewiston and all those worried about their family, friends and neighbors."

Collins noted on social media that she had also spoken with Mr. Biden. "As our state mourns this horrific mass shooting, we appreciate the support we've received from across the country, including the call I received from President Biden offering assistance," she wrote.

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

"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 and Eleanor Watson contributed reporting. The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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