Portraits of Maine Mass Shooting Victims

Some bowled, others played cornhole, some enjoyed a game of pool.

Many spent time with friends and families, and some worked the evening shift. What started as a seemingly ordinary Wednesday night in Lewiston, Maine, turned horrific after a gunman walked into a bowling alley and local bar and opened fire, killing 18 people and wounding at least 13 others.

On Friday afternoon, authorities in Maine released the names of those killed in Wednesday’s mass shooting. Seven victims died at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley and eight at the Schemengees Bar & Grille about four miles away. The three died after being taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

The youngest victim of the mass shooting in Lewiston was 14 years old, and the oldest was 76 years old.

Joseph Walker, who challenged Joey, was tending bar at Schemengees when the shooting started. His father, Leroy Walker Sr., a city councilman in neighboring Auburn, said police told the family that before he was killed, his son “tried to attack the attacker” with a butcher knife.

Mr Walker recounted a night of agonizing uncertainty as he waited to hear from Joey, who texted his father every night around 10:30 to let him know he was going home.

It was not until Thursday morning, after the elder Mr Walker had spent hours waiting for news in hospital, that he learned his son had been killed.

Mr Walker said he was not angry with the man who killed his son. “There’s so much hate in this world, and people who have an illness or a mind that’s a little off, they hate,” he said.

“If he’s sick in the head, I can’t blame him.”

Tricia Asselin, 53, who worked at the bowling alley and had gone bowling with her sister, Bobbi Nichols, on a night off, was also killed, said Ms. Asselin’s mother, Alicia LaChance.

Ms Nichols said her sister stopped to get her phone to call 911 and never made it out of the bowling alley alive.

Ms. LaChance said her daughter was often eager to help others. She coached women’s softball teams, raised $900 for the next Susan Komen Breast Cancer Walk, and would buy Christmas presents for children in need. Her last act was selfless, her mother said.

“She was shot trying to save the children,” her mother said.

Also killed at the bar was Peyton Brewer-Ross, a 40-year-old pipe fitter who had recently gotten engaged to his girlfriend and celebrated his daughter’s second birthday.

On Wednesday night, Mr Brewer-Ross was in Schemengees taking part in a cornhole tournament, his older brother Ralph Wellman-Brewer said on Friday.

“Everyone really liked him,” Mr Wellman-Brewer said. “He was very lovely and didn’t have an evil bone in his body.”

“He had everything going, great family, good job, doing all the right things,” he added.

Bryan MacFarlane, 41, was also killed in the bar. He told his mother, Janette Randazzo, that he was going out that night to play in a cornhole tournament with friends who, like him, were deaf.

Ms. Randazzo said she received a call Wednesday night from one of her son’s friends. His voice sounded frantic. Her son, as she found out, was shot in a bar. On Thursday morning, two officers broke the news that the victims included Mr. MacFarlane, who was proud of his job as a truck driver, loved hockey and once had a fish tattooed on his leg.

“I have a picture in my head of my child laying there with gunshot wounds somewhere on his body,” Ms Randazzo said. “It’s traumatic for me just to imagine.”

Ms. Randazzo said it was surreal to be part of a group that continues to expand in the United States: “We’re in a club now — families of mass shooting victims.”

After the names of the dead were released, Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement honoring them, noting that Maine can seem like “one big, small town,” so many residents would have known the victims personally. Including, it turns out, herself.

She said she lost a friend in Joshua A. Seal, 36, who “is fondly remembered by the people of Maine for his service as an ASL interpreter during our Covid-19 briefings.” And she noticed Aaron Young, who was only 14 years old.

“Tonight,” she said, “I’m asking the people of Maine to join me in reading their stories, learning who they are, celebrating them as beloved people and mourning them as irreplaceable.”

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