Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

LISBON, MAINE (WHDH) – Communities near Lewiston, Maine remained on high alert Thursday as authorities continued to search for a gunman suspected of carrying out a deadly mass shooting Wednesday night. 

Investigators said 40-year-old Robert Card allegedly first targeted a bowling alley in Lewiston before targeting a restaurant in town around 7 p.m. Maine’s Governor on Thursday morning said at least 18 people were killed. Thirteen people were injured. 

The Maine State Police asked residents in Lewiston and nearby Lisbon to shelter in place Wednesday night. Near 6:15 a.m. Thursday, state police expanded the shelter in place advisory to Bowdoin, Maine.

“Please stay inside your homes while more than 100 investigators, both local and federal work to locate Robert Card who is a person of interest in the Lewiston shootings,” state police said.

In Lisbon, where authorities said they found Card’s car abandoned at a local boat ramp on Wednesday, heavily-armed tactical units scrambled from call to call Thursday.

“It’s beyond comprehension, really,” said concerned resident Doug Pickard. “I don’t understand how someone could do something like this.”

Route 196 in Lisbon, near the site where Card’s car was found, was closed for much of the day Thursday. It had reopened as of around 4 p.m.

Asked at one point if he believed Card was still alive and on the run, Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee responded. 

“Every option is open and we’re going to investigate this until we locate him,” McGee said.

In Lewiston, Maine Governor Janet Mills said Wednesday’s attack “strikes at the very heart of who we are and the values we hold dear for this precious place we call home.”

Law enforcement said Card recently reported mental health issues, including hearing voices. Card, a U.S. Army reservist, also once threatened to shoot up a National Guard base, according to officials. 

Officials have described Card as “armed and dangerous” and warned community members to not approach him.

Law enforcement executes search warrants in Bowdoin

After a busy day across several communities, heavily-armed law enforcement personnel were on scene at the home of Card’s father in Bowdoin Thursday night. 

Several lights were seen shining on the farmhouse, which is surrounded by fields and beef cows. A helicopter was circling overhead and authorities were seen operating drones.

Officials could be heard shouting orders over a bullhorn. 

“Robert Card, we know you’re in there,” officials said at one point. 

Maine State Police on X said officials were in the area of Meadow Road to execute several search warrants. Police continued, saying announcements heard over a loudspeaker “are standard search warrant announcements when executing a warrant to ensure the safety of all involved.”

“It is unknown whether Robert Card is in any of the homes law enforcement will search,” police said. “Law enforcement officials are simply doing their due diligence by tracking down every lead in an effort to locate and apprehend Card.”

News cameras captured a convoy of law enforcement vehicles, including multiple armored vehicles moving into the Meadow Road area after sunset Thursday. 

Police later cleared the scene moments before 9 p.m.

Shootings draw law enforcement response from across region

Hundreds of state, local and federal law enforcement officers responded to Maine after shots rang out Wednesday night, including personnel from the FBI’s Boston Division. 

In addition to local FBI officials, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Boston Field Division said its agents were responding to Maine.

Massachusetts State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio in a statement said the state police Commonwealth Fusion Center “continues to be in regular contact with its Maine counterpart in regard to the Lewiston shootings and fugitive suspect Robert Card.” 

Procopio said state police Colonel John Mawn had also been in contact with officials in Maine and other New England states “to assess and coordinate capabilities for providing mutual aid to the Maine State Police.” 

“The full complement of Massachusetts State Police assets stand ready for deployment if requested, as necessitated by the evolving investigation and fugitive apprehension mission,” Procopio said.

As of around 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Procopio said a state trooper assigned to the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad and his K9 partner had responded to the Lewiston area as part of an ATF task force. 

Locally, Procopio said state police deployed patrols along the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line Wednesday night “to be on the lookout for the suspect’s white Subaru” before authorities found the car in Lisbon.

Municipal police from Massachusetts were also spotted at work in Maine Thursday, including officers from Melrose and Salem.

‘Nerves are rattled right now,’ resident says

Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck on Wednesday described Card as a person of interest in the investigation. On Thursday, Sauschuck said multiple arrest warrants for the charge of murder were issued for Card. 

“Nerves are rattled right now,” said one resident in Lisbon. “Keeping an eye on the woods.”

Lisbon is located next to Lewiston. Bowdoin, in turn, is located next to Lisbon.

“Our community is our biggest supporter,” said McGee, the Lisbon police chief. “So, we’re very transparent here at the PD. Our community is very transparent with us. They call us and that’s how we solve things.”

As police chase tips, McGee continued to urge community members to call 911 if they see something unusual. Officials have also established tip lines to receive information related to their investigation.

READ: Latest coverage on shootings in Lewiston and the search for Robert Card

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