Multiple victims were reported dead after at least two mass shootings in southern Maine on Wednesday night.
The total count of victims was unclear as of early Thursday morning. Law enforcement indicated the ultimate death toll could be nearly 20.
The shootings reportedly took place at both a restaurant and a bowling alley in Lewiston, the second most populous city in Maine, in the southern part of the state. Lewiston police said on Facebook late on Wednesday that the shootings occurred at local establishments Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation.
Police said they were looking for a person of interest in the shooting, 40-year-old Robert Card. Card “should be considered armed and dangerous,” they said on Facebook.
The AP reported that a police bulletin said Card had been identified as “a firearms instructor believed to be in the Army Reserve” who had been “committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023” after reportedly “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” the military base in Saco.
At a press conference in Lewiston on Thursday morning, law enforcement said Card was wanted on eight counts of murder, with potentially 18 total counts expected as victims were identified. The shooter was still at large at the time of the conference.
At the conference, Maine Gov. Janet Mills described the massacre as “a dark day for Maine."
“This city did not deserve this terrible assault on its citizens, on its peace of mind,” she said. “... No city does. No state. No people.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, Portland Bishop Robert Deeley said it was “heartbreaking to hear of lives lost and dozens injured and to know of the pain and grief that so many families are experiencing.”
“We pray for all those impacted by this terrible violence, that the Lord may provide them with consolation in the midst of their sorrow,” Deeley said. “In this moment of trial and uncertainty, let us raise up our prayers, asking God to give strength to them and to our community now and in the coming days, and we ask him to protect our law enforcement officers as they seek to prevent further harm.”
“As we pray to him in our various ways, may he strengthen us and show us the way forward during the difficult days that lie ahead,” the bishop wrote.
Maine State Police indicated after the shooting that they had identified a vehicle of interest in nearby Lisbon. Residents in the area had been asked to shelter in place during the investigation.
On Thursday morning state police said on Facebook that “more than 100 investigators, both local and federal,” were working to locate Card.