The man suspected of killing 18 people and wounding 13 in a shooting rampage in Lewiston, Maine, was found dead of a possible self-inflicted wound Friday, ending a 48-hour manhunt that followed the deadliest episode of gun violence in state history.
The body of Robert R. Card, 40, was discovered in the woods near the neighboring town of Lisbon Falls, near where police found his abandoned vehicle shortly after the shooting spree Wednesday night.
“He’s dead,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills said at a news conference, thanking the hundreds of officers from various agencies involved in the search.
“Like many people, I breathe a sigh of relief tonight knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone… Now is the time to heal,” Mills said.
Card died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Mike Sauschuck, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Officials said the U.S. Army reservist opened fire on his victims Wednesday night, first at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and minutes later at the Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, which was hosting bean-tossing competitions.
Officials have not released any suspicious motive.
The shootings and prolonged manhunt rattled the normally bustling but peaceful community of Lewiston, a former textile hub and the second most populous city in Maine.
Earlier Friday, Maine State Police lifted an order that had kept tens of thousands of people at home while the manhunt continued.
The city is located on the banks of the Androscoggin River about 35 miles (56 km) north of the state’s largest city, Portland, and nearly southwest of Maine’s capital, Augusta.
Card, an Army reserve sergeant from nearby Bowdoin, has been described by authorities as a trained firearms instructor who served as an oil supply specialist while on duty at the Army Reserve Base in Saco, Maine.
Law enforcement officials also said he had a history of mental illness and was committed to a psychiatric facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023, after which he was released.
Hours after Wednesday night’s bloodbath, police released surveillance camera photos from one of the crime scenes of a bearded man wearing a brown hoodie and jeans and holding a semi-automatic rifle.
The initial trail of clues led to the town of Lisbon, about 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Lewiston, where Maine police found a white SUV they believed Card used to make his getaway parked at a boat launch on the river. Public records showed he owned at least one boat made by Sea-Doo, a company known for its personal jet skis.
Lisbon Falls, where the body was found, is the next town, still along the river.
As part of their search for Card, police scoured the waters of the Androscoggin River with divers and sonar Friday and sent teams of officers door-to-door canvassing neighborhoods looking for additional clues and potential witnesses.
VICTIMS ARE RECOGNIZED AND HONORED
Authorities also officially released their names and ages victims for the first time, revealing that a cross-section of Lewiston people had been killed, including deaf people playing in the bean-toss tournament, a father-and-son bowler pair and a 76- and 73-year-old couple.
Four of the dead were from the deaf community, Sauschuck said, asking television cameras to include the American sign language interpreter at a press conference in their frames. Nine deaf people were playing in a weekly tournament in Schemengees, the sister of one of the victims told the Lewiston Sun Journal.
Among them was Joshua Seal, 36, director of interpretation services for the Pine Tree Society, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities, the Sun Journal reported, citing Noel Sullivan, the group’s president. Seal provided vital interpreting services for people isolated during the coronavirus pandemic, Sullivan said.
Stephen Vozella, 45, was a postal worker and an active member of the New England Deaf Cornhole, the group said on its Facebook page, adding that a minute’s silence will be observed at an upcoming tournament.
Bryan MacFarlane, 41, an avid motorcyclist, also participated in the cornhole tournament at Schemengees, his sister Keri Brooks told the Sun Journal.
Bill Young, 44, and his 14-year-old son Aaron were shot and killed while bowling together, Bill’s brother Rob Young told Reuters.
Husband and wife Bob Violette, 76, and Lucille Violette, 73, were also bowling together in a doubles tournament when they were killed, the Sun Journal reported, citing his daughter-in-law, Cassandra Violette.
Tricia Asselin, 53, was a part-time worker at the bowling alley and was trying to call 911 when she was shot. Joseph Walker, 57, was a manager at Schemengees who remained at the scene to help even though he could have escaped through a door near his office, his father, Leroy Walker, told Reuters on Friday.
“We’re told he took a butcher knife from the bar area where he was standing several times and went to attack the shooter,” Leroy Walker said of his son, whom he called Joey. The gunman then shot Joey, killing him instantly.