Relatives of Maine mass murderer Robert Card’s victims told on Friday night of their relief at his death, with some expressing sadness at the ‘unanswered questions’.
The body of Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist, was found at around 7:45pm on Friday near a recycling plant from where he had recently been fired.
The spot, near the town of Lisbon, was where his abandoned car was found on Wednesday evening, shortly after he shot dead 18 people at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston.
Robert Young’s brother Bill, 44, and nephew Aaron were killed at the bowling alley.
Fourteen-year-old Aaron was the youngest of Card’s 18 victims.
Young, who said that he and his brother had been at school with the gunman, playing on the same baseball team, said the family was relieved at the news of Card’s death.
Bill Young and his 14-year-old son Aaron were both confirmed dead on Thursday
Bill Young and his son Aaron were shot dead on Wednesday night at a Maine bowling alley
Bill Young (far right) and his son Aaron Young (front center) were both shot to death by Robert Card in Lewiston
Robert Young, Bill’s brother and Aaron’s uncle, said the family was in shock from the news, but relieved at Card’s death
Robert Card, 40, was found dead on Friday. He was at school with Robert Young, whose brother and nephew he murdered
Card, a US Army reserve soldier, launched the initial attack at a bowling alley (pictured) at around 6.56pm then struck again at bar and restaurant four miles away just 12 minutes later
The 40-year-old opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar in the town of Lewiston
Young said they did not want to sit through a harrowing trial, and potentially see Card, who was suffering a mental breakdown, spared jail and confined to a psychiatric facility.
Young told CNN: ‘It gives a sense of closure for us as a family, in as much as we don’t have to worry about him hurting anyone else.
‘And it kind of gives us a sense of justice. He’s not here anymore.’
Young was asked by host Laura Coates whether he would have rather seen Card put on trial, but he said his family did not want that.
He said they felt Card’s actions were inexplicable.
‘I don’t think you’d ever get a why,’ said Young.
‘I don’t think there is a why on why’d you’d gun down innocent people, a 14-year-old boy.
‘My family had no beef with Robbie Card.
‘We really don’t know him.
‘So no ‘why’ would ever bring my brother and my nephew back, you know.’
Bill Young (pictured left) and his 14-year-old son Aaron (pictured right) were shot and killed at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley
Card is understood to have studied engineering at the University of Maine between 2001 and 2004, then worked at a recycling plant. But he had suffered mental health episodes beginning in July, and had to be sectioned
Young said that he did not really know Card, but he was at school with Card’s brother and Card was a grade below them.
He added: ‘We didn’t want to sit through a trial. We didn’t want to see all the gruesome details.
‘And, you know, sometimes things are – with him being in a mental institution, maybe he gets an insanity plea and never sees a day in jail. We just never know how it’s all going to work. At least for our family, this is kind of the outcome we wanted.’
Young said he and his family were ‘still in shock’.
He was in Baltimore at the time of the shooting, and his sister was in Massachusetts – they all raced to the scene.
They did not find out that Bill and Aaron were dead until state troopers came to their home around 1pm on Thursday.
Young said Bill’s wife, Aaron’s mother, was distraught.
‘There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this,’ said Young.
‘Cindy, Bill’s wife and Aaron’s mom, she’s lost everything.
‘Her son was her entire world, and my brother was her best friend and soulmate. And they were both taken away.
‘They said good bye, he went to the bowling alley, and she never gets to see them again.’
Tammy Asselin, who survived the bowling alley shooting, but lost her cousin Tricia Asselin, said her feelings on hearing of Card’s death were mixed.
Tricia Asselin, 53, the second confirmed victim, was a part-time worker at Just-In-Time Recreation in Lewiston. She was bowling when the gunman came in and opened fire
Tricia Asselin was shot while calling 911 to alert emergency services to the mass shooting, her brother said
‘It is relieving so that the community itself can definitely move on without the fear of him out there, but it is also sad because we have so many questions left unanswered,’ she told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, holding back tears.
Tammy Asselin’s cousin Tricia worked in the bowling alley where she was killed.
Asselin was separated from her 10-year-old daughter as the shooting began.
The little girl, asked how she felt, just shook her head, declining to speak.
‘I know it does give my daughter some peace to know that he has been caught because that was a fear of hers that he’s still out there,’ said Tammy.
Card was found near Lisbon Falls, where his car was abandoned shortly after Wednesday’s massacre. His body was reportedly located near a recycling plant from where he was recently fired.
It was unclear how long he had been dead, and Mike Sauschuck, the commander of Maine’s department of public safety, would not say whether he had died as police closed in or been dead for days.
‘There continues to be a lot of work that needs to be done here at the scene, and a lot to follow up on,’ said Sauschuck.
Janet Mills, the governor of Maine, said that she was ‘breathing a sigh of relief knowing Card is no longer a threat to anyone’
Robert Card, 40, has been found dead, multiple news outlets report. Card is accused of killing 18 people in a series of shootings in Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday night
All 18 victims of the Maine mass shooting have been identified
Sauschuck confirmed that he is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He added that a hunting ban in the area has now been lifted. Saturday marks the start of the deer hunting season, and is a key date in Maine’s calendar.
The White House released a statement saying the past two days have been ‘tragic’ for the entire country.
‘This has been a tragic two days – not just for Lewiston, Maine, but for our entire country,’ President Joe Biden said in a statement released Friday.
‘Once again, an American community and American families have been devastated by gun violence.
‘In all, at least eighteen souls brutally slain, more injured, some critically, and scores of family and friends praying and experiencing trauma no one ever wants to imagine.
‘Numerous brave law enforcement officers have worked around the clock to find this suspect and prevent the loss of more innocent life – all while risking their own. They are the best of us.
‘Tonight we’re grateful that Lewiston and surrounding communities are safe after spending excruciating days hiding in their homes.
‘I thank Governor Janet Mills for her steady leadership during this time of crisis, and continue to direct my administration to provide everything that is needed to support the people of Maine.
‘Americans should not have to live like this. I once again call on Republicans in Congress to fulfill their obligation to keep the American people safe. Until that day comes, I will continue to do everything in my power to end this gun violence epidemic.
‘The Lewiston community – and all Americans – deserve nothing less.’
The shelter-in-place order was lifted on Friday, before the discovery of Card’s body was announced.
Meanwhile, cellphones across the Lewiston area dinged with a public safety alert shortly after the news broke: ‘The search is over for Mr. Card. The caution is over. Hunting may resume.’
Janet Mills, governor of Maine, said on Friday night she was ‘breathing a sigh of relief knowing Card is no longer a threat to anyone.’
She added: ‘Tonight the city of Lewiston and the people of Maine begin to move forward on a long process of healing – but we will heal, together.’
Eighteen people died when Card, an army reservist who had suffered a recent mental breakdown, opened fire at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston.
Card went on the run, leaving his car and cell phone behind and sparking a 48-hour manhunt.
‘So happy this nightmare is over,’ said John Riordan, who lives near the scene.
He told the Sun Journal: ‘Hopefully the families can get some closure. It will be nice to get back to some state of normalcy.’
Last year there were 29 murders in the entire state, and the shooting shocked the rural community.
Police officers stand in the area near a recycling plant where the body of Card was reportedly found, eight miles from Lewiston
Susan Collins issued a statement thanking law enforcement for their efforts
Susan Collins, a senator for Maine, said she was informed by Joe Biden that Card was dead.
‘When President Biden called me this evening to tell me the perpetrator of the heinous attacks in Lewiston had been found, we both expressed our profound appreciation for the courage and determination of these brave men and women.’
Sauschuck said that he called the Card family first, thanking them for their cooperation.
Search teams on Friday had been focusing their efforts on a river near Lisbon, where Card was known to moor his boat and jet ski.
On Thursday, there were multiple raids at homes in the town of Bowdoin belonging to Card’s parents, and his brother.
Police on Thursday confirmed that a suicide note, addressed to his son, had been found at his home.
Card spent 20 years in the Army reserves, and was a keen hunter and fisherman.
His marksmanship and survival skills made him a formidable foe for those trying to track him down, and local residents were ordered to stay indoors from Wednesday night until Friday evening.
A picture of Card’s disturbed mental state quickly emerged.
He had been fired from his job at a recycling plant, Maine Recycling, and had split from a recent partner.
Police officers are seen on Friday searching for Card in the Lisbon and Lewiston area
A colleague at a recycling plant told The Daily Beast he had behaved ‘violently and oddly’ towards co-workers in the last year.
‘When I saw it was him, I was not surprised,’ Jeremy Bowen, who was Card’s driver-helper at Maine Recycling, told The Daily Beast on Thursday.
‘A lot of the other helpers he was working with were starting to say he was acting violently and oddly.
‘I heard about [the shootings] on the news, and like I said, I really wasn’t surprised.’
In July he was sectioned for two weeks after he said he was hearing voices, and threatened to open fire at his Army base.
His sister-in-law, Katie Card, said he had been fitted with hearing aids and became convinced that he could hear people talking about him at the bowling alley and bar he would later attack.
‘He truly believed he was hearing people say things,’ she told The Daily Beast.
‘This all just happened within the last few months.’
She said he would ‘get mad’ when they told him the voices he ‘overheard’ at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar and Grill were only in his head.
‘Things have kind of gone downhill recently,’ Card told the Beast.
‘We tried to listen to him and tell him that nobody was talking about him.
‘Yesterday, as the story was unfolding, we prayed that Rob had nothing to do with this. But when we heard the two places where the shooting happened, my husband rushed home.’