Police found suspect dead in Maine recycling trailer, still investigating motive

By | October 28, 2023

LEWISTON, Maine, Oct 28 (Reuters) – A U.S. Army reservist accused of shooting a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, Maine, killing 18 people, has been found shot to death. a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a trailer at a recycling plant after a 48-hour manhunt, police announced Saturday.

The body of Robert R. Card, 40, was discovered Friday evening at a recycling plant in Lisbon Falls where he once worked, less than a mile from where police found his vehicle. flee abandoned shortly after his Wednesday night shooting. .

A Maine State Police tactical team discovered Card’s body in an unlocked trailer in an overflow parking lot at the recycling plant, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said Saturday.

Agents cleared the plant twice during their search, Sauschuck said, because they believed Card had a “working relationship” with the company, but they missed the extra parking lot, where about 60 full trailers of crushed plastic and metal were parked, he said.

The body was found in an unlocked trailer, wearing what appeared to be the same brown sweatshirt the suspect was wearing the night of the attack. Investigators would not say how long they believed he had been there.

Officials said they recovered a long rifle from Card’s abandoned white Subaru and two guns from his body, without confirming the makes and models. All of the weapons were apparently purchased by Card legally, a representative for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said.

A total of 18 people were killed and 13 others injured in Wednesday night’s rampage, which began when the gunman opened fire with a rifle inside the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and then launched another attack a few minutes later at the Schemengees Bar & Grille restaurant. a few kilometers away.

Three people remained in critical condition, Sauschuck said Saturday.


Authorities have not confirmed a possible motive for the violence and searched cellphone records, followed up on hundreds of tips and reviewed a dozen search warrants this weekend to learn more, Sauschuck said.

Based on the investigation so far, Sauschuck said there was “a mental health element” to the tragedy. He said there was evidence that Card was paranoid and “felt like people were talking about him,” which could have led him to target those specific locations.

A Maine law enforcement bulletin issued earlier this week identified Card as a trained firearms instructor at the U.S. Army Reserve Base in Saco, Maine. He said he was hearing voices and suffering from other mental health issues.

He threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco and was reportedly “committed to a mental health facility for two weeks during the summer of 2023 and then released,” according to the Maine Information & Analysis Center newsletter, a unit from Maine. State Police.

However, Sauschuck said Saturday that authorities so far have no evidence that Card was “forcibly committed” for treatment for mental illness, and that they are still investigating any voluntary treatment Card may have received.

Sauschuck said police found a note left at Card’s home, addressed to a loved one, that listed the passcode to his phone and banking information.

“I wouldn’t describe it as an explicit suicide note, but the tone and tenor was that the individual was not going to be there,” he said.

The shootings and prolonged manhunt have terrorized the normally bustling but serene community of Lewiston, a former textile hub and Maine’s second-most populous city. It lies on the banks of the Androscoggin River, about 35 miles (56 km) north of the state’s largest city, Portland.

Many business owners in Lewiston and nearby communities closed their doors immediately after the shooting, while authorities closed schools and ordered some 40,000 area residents to shelter in place as a precautionary measure. precaution.

Hours after Wednesday night’s bloodshed, police released surveillance camera photos from one of the crime scenes of a bearded man wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt and jeans and wearing what appeared be a semi-automatic rifle.

The first trail of clues led to Lisbon, about seven miles southeast of Lewiston, where Maine State Police found a white SUV they believed Card had abandoned at a boat ramp. water on the river. Lisbon Falls, where Card was found dead, is the next town 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 into neighborhoods looking for clues additional information and possible eyewitnesses.

Among the victims killed were four deaf people who were participating in a beanbag toss tournament at the bar and grill, a father and son bowling couple, a part-time bowling alley employee who tried to confront the shooter with a knife, and a couple aged 76 and 73.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Lewiston, Maine; Additional reporting by Julia Harte and Jonathan Allen in New York, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Written by Steve Gorman; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Diane Craft

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Gabriella Borter is a reporter on the U.S. national affairs team, covering cultural and political issues as well as breaking news. She has won two Front Page Awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York – in 2020 for her reporting on healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2019 for her reporting on the firing of the police officer who killed Eric Garner. The latter was also a finalist in the Deadline Club Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and joined Reuters in 2017.

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