‘We will all help you carry this grief’: Maine’s governor on shooting

Gov. Janet Mills confirms 18 killed in Lewiston attacks

By: and - October 26, 2023 11:47 am
Gov. Janet Mills speaks at an Oct. 26 press conference about the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. (Emma Davis/ Maine Morning Star)

Gov. Janet Mills speaks at an Oct. 26 press conference about the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. (Emma Davis/ Maine Morning Star)

Eighteen people are confirmed dead and another 13 injured from apparent gunshot wounds after a mass shooting Wednesday night at two locations in the city of Lewiston.

Gov. Janet Mills and law enforcement officials shared more details about the victims and ongoing manhunt at a press conference at Lewiston City Hall Thursday morning.

Seven people — six males and one female — died at Just-in-Time Recreation, formerly Sparetime, from apparent gunshot wounds, said Maine State Police Colonel William Ross.

Eight people, all males, died from apparent gunshot wounds at Schemengees Bar & Grille — seven were inside and one was outside.

An additional three people died at area hospitals, also from apparent gunshot wounds.

Eight victims have been identified and next of kin have been notified. As of Thursday morning, 10 of the deceased remain unidentified.

No additional details were available about the ages of the victims or condition of those wounded.

According to a timeline of last night’s events from Ross, the Auburn emergency communication center received a 911 call at 6:56 p.m. for an incident at the Just-In-Time bowling alley. Shortly after at 7:08 p.m., multiple 911 calls were received about an active shooter inside Schemengees. Ross described the scene as fast paced, fluid and very dangerous.

Ross said this is an active homicide investigation in the early stages with an arrest warrant for eight counts of murder for 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin. The counts will likely increase as more victims are identified and the state Attorney General will be the lead prosecutor, Ross said.

Last night, police referred to Card as a “person of interest” but Commissioner Mike Sauschuck of the Department of Public Safety said Thursday that Card is being viewed as a suspect.

Card is still considered armed and dangerous, Ross said, so the public should not approach him.

According to Bryce Dubee, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs with the U.S. Army, Card is a Sergeant First Class Petroleum Supply Specialist in the Army Reserve. Enlisted in December 2022, Card has no combat deployments.

Sauschuck said there isn’t information on whether Card is still in the state or even alive. It’s still an active manhunt, he said.

Reporters at a press conference asked about a possible motive and the weapon used. Sauschuck declined to share those details and said the current focus is on locating Card.

Lewiston Chief of Police David St. Pierre asked the public to continue to be mindful of their own safety. A shelter in place remains for the communities of Lewiston, Lisbon, and Bowdoin.

“This is an all hands on deck approach,” he said, noting that there are far too many involved to name here but that Maine State Police is leading the effort.

Jodi Cohen, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Division, which covers Maine, said her office is providing tactical support and a victim specialist to assist with the aftermath.

New Hampshire State Police were also mentioned as supporting the efforts. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife were stationed outside the door of Central Maine Medical Center Thursday morning and told Maine Morning Star they’d been there all night.

Mills said she spoke with President Biden twice last night, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, who offered their “unwavering” support. Biden and Mills have ordered all American flags and Maine state flags to be at half mast for the next five days.

Biden said he has directed his administration “to provide everything that is needed to support the people of Maine.”

“We will continue to be there every step of the way,” he said.

“I know that the people of Lewiston are enduring immeasurable pain,” Mills said. “I wish I could take that pain from you, but I promise you this, we will all help you carry this grief.

If anyone has details or information, they can call 911 or state police tip lines at 207-213-9526 or 207-509-9002.

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Emma Davis
Emma Davis

Emma Davis is a reporter based in Portland, Maine, where she focuses on government accountability.

AnnMarie Hilton
AnnMarie Hilton

AnnMarie Hilton grew up in a suburb of Chicago and studied journalism at Northwestern University. Before coming to Maine, she covered education for newspapers in Wisconsin and Indiana.