At least 16 people are dead, and dozens more injured following a mass shooting at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night, according to multiple reports.
The gunman, who was armed with a long rifle, was still at large hours after his rampage started, leading to a massive manhunt in Maine’s second-largest city and a county-wide lockdown order. Lewiston City Councilor Robert McCarthy told CNN on Wednesday night the death toll could be 22 people.
Police identified Robert Card, 40, as a person of interest. In a police bulletin reviewed by the Associated Press, authorities said Card had been trained as a firearms instructor at a U.S. Army Reserve training facility in Maine. The bulletin said Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023. It did not elaborate on the type of treatment he received but reportedly said Card reported hearing voices and had threatened to carry out a shooting at the military training base in Saco, Maine.
“Law Enforcement is attempting to locate Robert Card 4/4/1983, as a person of interest regarding the mass shooting at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation this evening. CARD should be considered armed and dangerous,” the Lewiston Police Department said.
“It’s very shocking,” Brenda Card, whose husband is Robert Card’s uncle, told Rolling Stone. “There’s a lot going on right now. I don’t feel like I can say anything more.”
Lewiston Police and the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office posted several images of the alleged gunman on social media. Authorities asked residents to contact police if they recognized the suspect, who appeared to be a bearded white man wearing dark pants and a brown long-sleeved shirt.
During a press conference Wednesday night, authorities called the situation “fluid” and urged locals to act with extreme caution.
“At approximately 6:56 PM this evening, a couple of shooting incidents occurred here with multiple casualties in the city of Lewiston,” Michael Sauschuck, Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Public Safety, said. “A vehicle, which was a vehicle of interest in this incident, was located in Lisbon, and we are now also asking residents in Lisbon to shelter in place.”
Sauschuck did not confirm the current death toll or the number of people injured during the press conference. “We will continue to gather information so that we can bring the suspect to justice and ultimately seek prosecution down the road.”
“We are currently dealing with an active shooter incident,” Lewiston Police wrote on Facebook. “Please stay off the roads to allow emergency responders access to the hospitals.” The police also shared a photo of a white SUV believed to belong to the shooter.
Police said Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley, were scenes under investigation. The two locations are approximately a 10-minute drive from one another. Police have identified a parked, white SUV believed to belong to the shooter.
Kathy Lebel, co-owner of Schemengees, told the Sun Journal a person walked into the restaurant and “started shooting.”
“It was just a fun night playing cornhole … it’s the last thing you’re expecting, right?” Lebel said. “I still feel like this whole thing is a nightmare.”
The Associated Press interviewed one man, identified only as Brandon, who said he was putting on bowling shoes when the shooting started. “I’ve been barefoot for five hours,” he said.
He told the AP, he scrambled down the length of the alley, sliding into the pin area and climbing up to hide in the machinery.
“I just booked it,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety urged residents to stay in their homes with their doors locked, instructions that Gov. Janet Mills echoed. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation and was in contact with Mills and the state’s Congress members, offering “full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack,” a White House statement said.
Superintendent Jake Langlais said that local schools will be closed on Thursday, adding: “Stay close to your loved ones. Embrace them.”
This story is developing….
Oct. 26, 6 a.m. ET: This post has been updated to adjust the number of people estimated killed in Wednesday’s shootings and eyewitness accounts.