Heavily armed law enforcement personnel search an area, two days after a mass shooting, in Monmouth, Maine, USA, 27 October 2023. EFE/EPA/CJ GUNTHER

Search for Maine gunman centers on river where his vehicle was found

Lewiston, USA, Oct 27 (EFE).- The search for Robert Card, a US Army reservist who allegedly killed 18 people in two shootings last Wednesday in the city of Lewiston (Maine), will focus Friday on the river next to which the vehicle in which he fled was found.

The discovery of the suspect’s car at a boat launch has raised the possibility that Card escaped by water, and the US Coast Guard has been searching the area by both air and water.

At a 10 a.m. briefing Friday morning, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said a search for “potential bodies” is being conducted in the area of the Androscoggin River near Lisbon Township using divers, underwater robots and sonar.

“I’m not saying we know the suspect is in the water,” Sauschuck said. Sauschuck also confirmed that a letter was found in recent hours at one of the homes linked to Card that were searched.

“There was a note at one of these residences. I’m not permitted to really talk about what that included,” he said.

The commissioner said that “530 plus tips and leads that have come in from the general public, from a number of communities and a number of relationships” and that statements have been received from more than 70 witnesses who saw what happened Wednesday night at the Spare Time Recreation bowling alley and at Schemengees Restaurant Bar.

Both locations were invaded by Card, a 40-year-old reserve military officer with a history of mental health issues, who is considered armed and dangerous.

Sauschuck confirmed that the call for people to stay indoors remains in effect for Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon and Bowdoin.

Law enforcement personnel use an underwater robot to search the waters of the Sabattus and Androscoggin rivers, two days after a mass shooting, in Lisbon, Maine, USA, 27 October 2023. EFE/EPA/CJ GUNTHER

“Shelter in Place”

Sauschuck confirmed that the call for people to stay in their homes will remain in effect for the cities of Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon and Bowdoin. The “shelter in place” order will remain in effect until the population is deemed safe.

Drones, helicopters, police dogs, robots, and local, state, and FBI law enforcement personnel have been combing a wooded area full of shelters, lakes, and rivers since Wednesday night.

Androscoggin County (population about 111,000) and northern Sagadahoc County (population about 37,000) are on alert.

Several school districts and colleges in southern Maine have announced they will be closed on Friday. This includes public schools in Lewiston, Auburn, Brunswick and Lisbon.

Bodies difficult to identify

Seven people died at the bowling alley, eight at the restaurant, and three others died after being transported to the hospital.

Card currently faces eight murder charges because that is the number of victims already identified, but the number of charges is expected to match the number of deaths.

The shooter fired with an AR15, an assault rifle known to have a devastating effect on the bodies of victims, often making it difficult to identify them.

Although there is no official confirmation, as the police are releasing information in trickles as it is “an ongoing investigation,” the press has already begun to publish the identities of the deceased. Wednesday night the bowling alley was holding a children’s league and the bar was holding a cornhole tournament for the deaf community.

Among them is Tommy Conrad, 34, the manager of the bowling alley.

Also Joseph Walker, manager of the Schemengees bar, and Michael Deslauriers, who was bowling with his family and a friend.

The Lewiston event is already the deadliest shooting in the United States so far this year.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 566 mass shootings this year 2023, those in which at least four people are wounded or killed in a single incident, not including the perpetrator. EFE