The man who killed 18 people and wounded 13 others in Lewiston, Maine, marking America’s deadliest mass shooting this year, had paranoid beliefs that people were talking about him and might have heard voices, authorities said Saturday.
The man, Robert R. Card II, 40, had purchased several guns legally, some just days before the attack, officials said, and may have previously visited the two establishments — a bar and a bowling alley — he attacked Wednesday night.
The attack sparked a two-day manhunt that ended Friday night when police found the man dead in a trailer at a Lisbon recycling plant where he once worked. Officials said he appeared to have shot himself and believed he acted alone in carrying out the attack.
The discovery brought a sense of relief through Lewiston and neighboring towns, where residents evacuated and many businesses closed.
On Saturday, officials released more details about the gunman, who was in the Army Reserve and grew up in Bowdoin, near Lewiston.
“There’s paranoia, there’s some conspiracy theorists,” said Commissioner Michael J. Sauschuck of the state Department of Public Safety. He said the man mistakenly believed “people were talking about him” and may have heard voices.
However, Mr. Sauschuck said there was no indication that Mr. Card was ever involuntarily committed for mental health treatment. He said it was not clear whether the gunman knew any of the victims, but said he believed Mr Card had been to the bar and bowling alley before.
“I think there’s a connection with all those locations,” Mr. Sauschuck said. “I believe there is a connection, as if this gentleman was in both of those places.”
As of Saturday morning, three of the 13 people wounded in the attack remained in critical care, the commissioner said. Across the city, businesses were reopening, but signs of the city’s heavy losses remained. Police were still processing the two scenes, and billboards at restaurants and other businesses flashed messages including “Lewiston Strong.”
The gunman left behind a paper note, which was addressed to a relative and included his mobile phone code and bank account details. Mr Sauschuck said it was not an explicitly suicidal message, but that its tone suggested it was essentially that.
The police said they found a long handgun in Mr. Card’s white Subaru, which he abandoned near the Androscoggin River shortly after the shooting, and two other handguns were found with his body in a trailer in the parking lot of Maine Recycling, his former employer. It remains unclear when he purchased the specific rifle he used in the attack.
Police searched the recycling company’s property twice without finding the gunman’s body, but later searched another lot where they found him on Friday night.
Mr. Sauschuck said that during previous searches, “nobody had any idea” that the business’s property extended across the street to an additional lot, perhaps explaining why his body was not found earlier.
The police said that Mr. Card began his attack on the bowling alley on Wednesday shortly before 7 p.m., shooting into the facility where children and adults had been bowling moments earlier. He fled the scene but continued his rampage at a bar about four miles away, leaving 18 people dead at both locations and 13 people injured.
Those killed ranged in age from 14 to 76, including a father and son and several people who were part of a group of deaf friends playing cornhole at the bar.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.