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HomeworldMaine manhunt for Lewiston mass shooter extends to another night

Maine manhunt for Lewiston mass shooter extends to another night

Lewiston: Police inMaineextendedtheir round-the-clock search for suspected LewistonmassshooterRobert R. Card into the early hours of Friday morning, as the US Army reservist eluded amanhuntfollowing the bar and bowling alley massacres that killed 18 people and wounded 13 more.

As officials urged peopletostay indoorsfortheir safety, part of the search played out on live television Thursdaynightas officials executed several search warrants in the neighboring town of Bowdoin where Card lived.

Law enforcement surrounded the rural homeformore than two hours, with an FBI agent issuing orders over a bullhornto”come out with your hands up,” but apparently nobody was inside.

Police did not know if Card was inside when the operation began and the amplified messages were “standard search warrant announcements,” aMaineDepartment of Public Safety spokesperson said, adding that officials were “doing their due diligence” in tracking down leads.

The town ofLewiston, a former textile hub of 38,000 people, and neighboring communities were largely shut down on Thursdaytoenable hundreds of officerstoconduct their search.

The city on the banks of the Androscoggin River went quiet, with almost no cars on the roads, just a few people outside, and many downtown businesses closed. Rifle-toting security agents in bulletproof vests guarded the hospital where many of the shooting victims were taken.

Card, 40, is a sergeant at a nearby US Army Reserve base who law enforcement officials said had been temporarily committedtoa mental health facility over the summer.

Police circulated photographs of a bearded man in a brown hooded sweatshirt and jeans at one of the crime scenes armed with what appearedtobe a semi-automatic rifle.

On thenightof the shootings, Card’s trail ledtoLisbon, about 7 miles (11 km)tothe southeast, whereMaineState Police found a white SUV they believe Card usedtoget away and parked at a boat launch on the river. Public records showed he has three watercraft registrations: two Sea-Doos and a Bayliner.

The bloodshed rattled towns throughout Androscoggin County that were under shelter-in-place orders as they joined the growing list of US communitiestosuffer from a gun massacre.

“It’s a small town. You gettoknow everybody,” said Ken Spalding of Lisbon. “But I had told my wife a couple of years ago, ‘It’s not if, my dear. It’s when.'”

The number of US shootings in which four or more people are shot is projectedtoreach 679 in 2023, up from 647 in 2022, accordingtodata from the Gun Violence Archive.

The 18 fatalities are closetothe annual number of homicides that normally occur inMaine, which has fluctuated between 16 and 29 since 2012, accordingtoMaineState Police.

The victims included Bill Young and his 14-year-old son Aaron who were shot and killed at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, Bill’s brother Rob Young told Reuters.

Also among the dead was Bryan MacFarlane, 40, who was part of a group in the deaf community participating in a cornhole tournament at Schemengees Bar & Grille when he was killed, his sister Keri Brooks told CNN.

Guns are lightly regulated inMaine, where about half of all adults live in a household with a gun, accordingtoa 2020 study by RAND Corporation. Mainedoes not require a permittobuy or carry a gun, and it does not have so-called “red flag” laws seen in some other states that allow law enforcementtotemporarily disarm people deemedtobe dangerous.

US Representative Jared Golden, a Democrat fromLewiston, told reporters he has reversed his oppositiontoan assault weapons ban as a result of the tragedy.

“I now call on the United States Congresstoban assault rifles, like the one used by the perpetrator of thismasskilling my hometown,” Golden told a news conference.

But Congress has been mostly unabletopass gun control, even after previous tragedies such as the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were gunned down.

(Published 27 October 2023, 06:31 IST)

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