What we know about the Maine shooting

Stay up-to-date on the search for the suspect in the Shootings in Maine.

An air, land and sea search continued Friday for the gunman suspected of killing 18 people and wounding 13 others Wednesday night at a packed bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, a Maine town of about 40,000.

Here’s what we know about the shooting, the nation’s deadliest this year.

Around 7pm on Wednesday, a gunman opened fire at Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley. Minutes later, there were reports of gunfire at Schemengees Bar & Grille, a 12-minute drive away.

“I thought it was, like, a table crashing to the floor or something,” one bowler said. “No one really screamed. No one knew what it was.”

Around 8 p.m., officials released photos of the armed suspect and urged people to stay inside with the doors locked. Around 9:15 a.m., they released photos of the vehicle they were looking for, a small white car with a front bumper that may have been painted black.

At about 11 p.m., police named Robert R. Card, of Bowdoin, Maine, as a person of interest in the shooting, saying he “should be considered armed and dangerous.”

On Thursday, Maine State Police extended their shelter-in-place advisory for Lewiston, the state’s second-largest city after Portland, to include Bowdoin, about 15 miles away. Teaching at Bates College in Lewiston, u Lewiston Public Schools and in neighboring school districts were canceled for Thursday.

Seven people died at the bowling alley, eight at the bar and three at the hospital, according to Maine State Police Col. William G. Ross. So far, eight of the 18 killed have been identified.

Dr. John Alexander of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston said the hospital received 14 victims in a 45-minute period Wednesday night. In addition to the three deceased persons, three have been discharged, and eight are still hospitalized – three in critical condition and five in stable condition.

The mother of a bar shooting victim said the shootings and her son’s death further reinforced a belief she’s held for years: that assault rifles should be banned.

Mr. Card, a 40-year-old man wanted in connection with the shooting, is a sergeant first class in the Army Reserve who enlisted in December 2002, the US Army Public Affairs Office at the Pentagon said.

He trained as a petroleum supply specialist, whose job includes the shipping and storage of fuel for vehicles and aircraft. Mr. Card did not serve on any combat deployment and was assigned to the Third Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment in Saco, Maine, according to an Army spokesman.

Police investigators were looking into a run-in Mr. Card had with officials during a recent visit to Camp Smith, a National Guard training facility near West Point, a senior law enforcement official said. The official said Mr. Card was later checked into a mental health facility.

Although it’s a largely blue state where Democrats control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature, Maine has a long history of resistance to gun control measures. Much of the political power of the state is rooted in rural communities, where hunting is an integral part of the culture.

According to a 2020 study by the RAND Corporation, 45 percent of Maine households owned at least one gun between 2006 and 2017, compared to a national average of 32 percent.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that advocates for stricter gun restrictions, ranks Maine 25th in the nation in the strictness of its gun laws, with more permissive laws than nearby Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut. In the region, only New Hampshire ranks lower than Maine.

Maine restricts gun ownership to people with mental disabilities who are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Instead of a so-called red flag law similar to what many other states have adopted, which allows police or the public to petition to temporarily remove a person’s firearm, Maine has a “yellow flag” law with the additional requirement of a medical professional’s opinion.

Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, a centrist Democrat and veteran Marine who has repeatedly broken with his party to oppose legislation that would ban assault weapons, has reversed his longtime position and called for an assault weapons ban.

Sen. Susan Collins, a centrist Republican from Maine, refused to support a ban on assault weapons. Ms. Collins, who last year helped negotiate a compromise measure that broke a decades-long deadlock on any legislation aimed at changing the nation’s gun laws, instead said lawmakers should consider banning “very high-capacity magazines.”

“There is always more that can be done,” she said.

He contributed to the reporting Patricia Mazzei, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Eduardo Medina, John Ismay, Jenny Gross, Glenn Thrush, Michael Corkery and Shaila Dewan.

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