The small town of Lewiston, Maine, once bustling with life, has been transformed into a ghost town following a horrifying mass shooting. The suspect, 40-year-old Robert Card, remains at large, leaving the community in a state of fear and uncertainty. Hundreds of FBI agents and Maine state troopers are tirelessly searching for Card, who is described as being mentally ill.
Card, known to be ‘obsessed’ with the game of cornhole, was recently fired from his job at a recycling plant. Prior to the massacre, he had been living in the small town of Bowdoin, close to homes owned by his parents and his brother and sister-in-law. Neighbors describe the Card family’s arrangement as ‘basically a compound’, where gun-toting was a common occurrence.
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The suspect’s vehicle, a white Subaru station wagon, was found abandoned at a boat ramp on the Androscoggin River. Divers have begun searching the water for any sign of him, with a power company operating two dams in the river agreeing to slow the current to facilitate an easier search. Despite these efforts, law enforcement officials admit they are still in the dark about Card’s whereabouts.
The tragedy unfolded when Card opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, killing 18 people. Among the victims were members of a deaf cornhole tournament who had gathered at the bar. This senseless act of violence has left the community heartbroken and in shock.
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Card’s sister-in-law, Katie O’Neill, released a statement expressing the family’s devastation. She stated that the family is cooperating fully with law enforcement and their thoughts are with the victims’ families. However, questions remain about the specifics of a suicide note left by Card for his son, and whether the suspect’s family is assisting in the investigation.
The manhunt for Card has been extensive, with law enforcement personnel searching forests, waterways, and small towns around the rural areas in Maine where the shootings took place. Schools, doctor’s offices, and grocery stores have closed, and residents are staying behind locked doors, even in cities as far as 50 miles from the scenes of the shootings.
This tragic event underscores the urgent need for mental health reform. Card’s family reported that he had an ‘acute’ mental health episode that led to him hearing voices and behaving ‘schizophrenically’. He was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer after ‘hearing voices and threats to shoot up’ a military base. This raises questions about the adequacy of mental health services and the need for more effective interventions.
As the search for Card continues, the entire country is urged to remain vigilant. The tragedy in Maine serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of untreated mental illness and the urgent need for comprehensive mental health reform.