A gunman killed at least 22 people and injured 60 in a small Maine town in what is believed to be the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year.
40-year-old Army reservist and firearms instructor Robert Card is currently being hunted by state and federal police as a suspect in the fatal shooting.
Police have warned civilians to stay away from Card because he is “armed and dangerous” and has suffered from mental health problems in the past.
He is said to have killed and injured dozens of people when he took an AR-15 rifle with a laser optic attachment to two locations in Lewiston, a small town with around 36,000 residents, around 7 p.m. local time last night and shot customers at both locations.
The two shootings occurred at Sparetime Recreation, a restaurant and bowling alley, and Schemengees, a bar and grill.
A gunman has killed at least 22 people and injured 60 in the town of Lewiston, Maine. Lewiston police are searching for the suspect, pictured at Sparetime Recreation Center. The first call for Sparetime came in at 7:15 p.m
The shooter, wearing a brown hoodie, is seen in Lewiston on Wednesday evening
The rampage began at 6:56 p.m. and police arrived at Sparetime at 7:15 p.m. It is currently unknown which location was hit first.
The two locations are approximately four miles apart, but driving from one to the other only takes nine minutes.
Shortly after the shooting, horrifying footage was released of customers fleeing for their lives.
An hour later, the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released chilling photos from surveillance cameras showing the gunman with his rifle as he entered the resort wearing a brown hoodie and blue jeans.
A Facebook post said: “Law enforcement in Androscoggin County is investigating two active shooting incidents.” We encourage all businesses to lock down or close operations while we investigate. The suspect is still at large.’
People are seen fleeing the scene of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine
After the shooting on Wednesday evening, crowds dispersed
Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist and firearms instructor, has been named as a suspect in the killing of 22 people in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday
At the same time, shots were reported from a nearby Walmart warehouse, less than a mile southeast of Schemengees. However, a Walmart spokesman later confirmed that no shooting had occurred at the facility.
Three hours later, Robert was named as a suspect in the shooting.
Thirty minutes later, at 11:30 p.m. local time, city police released a photo of a white SUV believed to belong to Card.
Police said the car was found abandoned at a boat launch in the city of Lisbon, about seven miles away.
Lisbon authorities have since urged residents to continue to seek shelter as the large-scale hunt for the suspected shooter continues.
The city of Auburn, across the Androscoggin River, has also warned residents to stay indoors.
Dozens of worried and distressed residents were taken by officers to a reunification center at Auburn Middle School
Police have released a photo of that car, which they believe belongs to Card. Sheriffs said at 11:20 p.m. Wednesday the car was found abandoned in the town of Lisbon, about seven miles away
“WARNING: An active shooter incident is currently underway in the city of Lewiston,” they wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“ALL Auburn and Lewiston residents are strongly advised to seek shelter, lock all doors and report suspicious people and activity to 9-1-1.”
“Most of the businesses in the area have closed or are currently closing.”
Card, of Bowdoin, Maine, has a history of mental health issues and previously reported hearing voices and threatening to shoot up his National Guard base in Saco, Maine, according to the Maine Information and Analysis Center – a division of the state of Maine Police.
He was admitted to a psychiatric facility for two weeks over the summer and reportedly recently lost his job.
Further information about Card and the shooting is expected to be released later today, as Maine State Police will hold a press conference at 10:30am local time (3:30pm UK time).
Police officers surround an armored police vehicle parked in the parking lot of the Lisbon High School gymnasium
Police vehicles drive in the parking lot of the Lisbon High School gymnasium
The shooting shook the state to its core.
Maine has a relatively high rate of gun ownership and relatively lax laws: About half of households own firearms, according to a study cited by Maine Public Radio last year.
There is no independent background check system, no alert law to identify those at extreme risk for gun violence, no requirement that convicted domestic abusers turn in their guns, and no permit requirement for concealed weapons.
As a certified firearms instructor, Card would have had no problems obtaining guns.
But unlike many states with such a wide range, there are relatively few fatal shootings here each year: 89 percent of gun deaths are suicide, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
“There are no big cities in Maine,” said Democrat Chellie Pingree.
“So it’s not like Dallas or New York City. “It’s a very close-knit community, even though it’s a city, and I’m just sure there’s just a tremendous amount of grieving families.”