Updated 1 P.M. EDT, Oct. 26, 2023: The death toll rose to 18 killed in mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday night. Authorities are still searching for the suspect, Robert Card.
At least 16 people are dead and dozens more injured after separate mass shootings at two recreational business venues in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday as law enforcement continue a desperate manhunt for 40-year-old Robert Card who has been described as a person of interest in what could be the state’s deadliest shooting.
“None of this seems real, but unfortunately it is. We are devastated for our community and our staff. We lost some amazing and whole hearted people from our bowling family and community last night,” one of the businesses, Just-In-Time Recreation, formerly known as Sparetime,said in a statement on Facebook Thursday morning. “There are no words to fix this or make it better. We[‘re] praying for everyone who has been affected by this horrific tragedy. We love you all and hold you close in our hearts.”
The Lewiston Maine Police Department announced just before 9 p.m. Wednesday that they were dealing with an active shooter incident at Sparetime, a family restaurant and event venue and Schemengees Bar and Grill, which is just over miles away.
Schemengees Bar and Grill said in a statement on Facebook early Thursday morning that they, too, lost people.
“My heart is crushed. I am at a loss for words. In a split second your world gets turned upside down for no good reason. We loss (sic) great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this? Sending out prayers to everyone,” the statement said.
As they hunted for Card and dealt with casualties Wednesday night, police urged members of the community to stay off the roads.
“We are currently dealing with an active shooter incident (Schemengees and Sparetime Recreation). Please stay off the roads to allow emergency responders access to the hospitals,” the department noted on Facebook before releasing a photo of Card two hours later, identifying him as a person of interest who is “considered armed and dangerous.”
In the early hours of the shooting, Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson and a Lewiston city councilman said that as many as 22 people had died, according to the Sun Journal.
Card who lives in Bowdoin, was also described as a mentally troubled trained firearms instructor and a member of the U.S. Army Reserve in Saco.
He had only recently reported issues with his mental health including hearing voices. State police said Card spent two weeks at a mental health facility this summer after he threatened to shoot the National Guard base in Saco.
A white Subaru Outback police believe Card was driving was found near the Lisbon boat dock on Frost Hill Avenue near Route 196. Residents in the community were urged to shelter in place as the hunt for Card continued.
“At this time, we continue to recommend that Lisbon residents continue to shelter in place with an emphasis on residents between Mill Street in Lisbon Center, along the Rt 196 corridor east to Main Street in Lisbon Falls. Businesses located within this area especially will mostly be closed until safety concerns have been addressed,” the Lisbon Police Department warned in a statement after 4 a.m. Thursday. “Your cooperation with this recommendation is greatly appreciated as we work with several other law enforcement agencies to assure the residents and businesses in the community can go about their daily activities safely. We will provide updates as soon as possible when the shelter in place recommendation is lifted.”
Kathy Lebel, co-owner of Schemengees, told the Sun Journal that she was not at the restaurant at the time of the shooting but was told a person walked in and “started shooting” and staff ran out.
“It was just a fun night playing cornhole. … It’s the last thing you’re expecting, right?” Lebel said. “I still feel like this whole thing is a nightmare.”
Police are now looking for a blue Chevy Suburban with Maine plate 6625ZD as they continue the hunt for Card.