Police were told that a gunman in Maine had threatened to carry out a shooting

The Army Reserve and the Maine Sheriff’s Department were aware of the reservist’s deteriorating mental health more than five months before he killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, according to records released Monday. Just six weeks ago, records show, he became increasingly paranoid, punched a friend and said he was going on a shooting spree.

But there is no indication in the documents that any law enforcement officials ever made contact with Reservist Robert R. Card II, 40, who carried out America’s deadliest mass shooting this year and set off a two-day manhunt before he was found dead.

The warnings about Mr. Card were far more explicit than Maine officials publicly acknowledged in the days after the Oct. 25 shooting. They came from members of Mr. Card’s family – who believed he was hearing voices – and his Army Reserve unit in Saco, Maine, and were investigated by the Sheriff’s Office in Sagadahoc County, where Mr. Card lived.

Mr. Card’s family told a sheriff’s deputy in May that Mr. Card had become angry and paranoid earlier this year. In particular, he began to claim – wrongly, the family says – that people accused him of being a pedophile.

When the deputy, Chad Carleton, got to Mr. Card’s base in Saco, he learned that people there already had “significant concerns” about Mr. Card’s mental health, according to a report written by the deputy.

Two months later, in July, Mr. Card was treated for two weeks in a psychiatric hospital in New York, according to a later report, after the incident at the US military academy at West Point. He accused “several other soldiers” of calling him a pedophile, shoved one and made veiled threats to “take care” of things, the report said.

In mid-September, he made more explicit threats, telling a friend he had a gun and was “going to shoot up the training center in Saco and other places,” according to a Sheriff’s Office report from that month.

In response to that episode, the Army Reserve contacted the Sheriff’s Office, which assigned a sergeant, Aaron Skolfield, to check on Mr. Card at his home in Bowdoin, Maine.

Sgt Skolfield went to Mr Card’s house on September 16 and tried to make contact with him, but no one came to the door, despite the sergeant hearing someone he thought might be Mr Card moving inside .

The sergeant said in his report that shortly afterwards he spoke to Mr Card’s commanding officer, Captain Jeremy Reamy, who said he thought it was best for Mr Card to “have some time to himself”. Captain Reamy also said the reserve was working to get Mr Card retired and get mental health treatment. He declined to comment on Monday.

The Army Reserve said in a statement that it contacted the Sheriff’s Office about Mr. Card “out of an abundance of caution after the unit became concerned for his safety.”

Sergeant Skolfield said he also contacted Mr Card’s brother, Ryan Card, who said he and his father would try to take the gun away from his brother. The sergeant said he urged Ryan Card to contact the sheriff’s department if he felt his brother needed an “evaluation.” Ryan Card did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said in a statement that he believes his deputies acted appropriately, but added that his department will evaluate its procedures for health checks.

Sergeant Scholfield declined to comment over the weekend when contacted by a reporter by phone.

Earlier Monday, Gov. Janet Mills declined to answer questions about previous law enforcement interactions with Mr. Card. The state commissioner of public safety, Michael J. Sauschuck, mentioned only the 2007 drunken driving incident when asked Saturday about his previous contact with police.

The record of Mr. Card’s previous encounters with reservists and warnings to the sheriff’s department are the latest to raise questions about whether more could have been done to prevent the shooting in Maine or prevent Mr. Carda to buy weapons.

Reports do not clarify whether Mr. Card was taken to hospital in July involuntarily, but if he had been, he might have been banned from owning a gun. One report described how Mr Card’s reserve colleagues overheard him complaining about the commanders of the units that committed him, saying they were “the reason he can’t buy guns anymore”.

Federal officials said Mr. Card had legally purchased the gun just days before the shooting. The FBI said there was nothing stopping him from buying guns legally.

Despite the behavior of Mr. Carda, the sheriff’s office did not try to use Maine’s “yellow flag” law, which allows police to confiscate people’s guns after being examined by a doctor and approved by a judge.

Mr. Card began his rampage at a bowling alley last Wednesday night, where he killed seven people. He then drove to the bar and opened fire again, shooting people playing pool and several deaf friends competing in cornhole games. Eight people died in the bar, and three more in the hospital.

Thirteen more people were wounded between the two scenes. Mr Card fled and was found dead two days later, having shot himself in a trailer at the recycling plant where he used to work.

In May, Mr. Carleton, the deputy sheriff, met with the ex-wife of Mr. Card and his 18-year-old son at the high school where they raised their concerns with the police officer assigned to the school. Mr. Card’s son reported that his father recently became very angry with him and accused him of talking behind his back.

The son and his mother told the deputy they were concerned about Mr. Card’s deteriorating mental health and growing paranoia. Mr. Card’s ex-wife told the deputy that he recently took 10 to 15 handguns and rifles from his brother’s house and brought them back to his house.

That night, Mr. Card’s ex-wife visited him with his sister, Nicole, and later reported that he opened the door with a gun and complained that there were people outside his house picking on him. But she told the deputy the next day that Mr. Card also agreed to see a doctor about his paranoia and hearing voices. It is not clear whether he did so.

Carleton wrote that Mr. Card’s brother said his paranoia began around the time Mr. Card got hearing aids earlier this year. Cardi’s sister-in-law told the New York Times last week that he got them because his hearing had deteriorated after two decades on the reservation.

When the reserve contacted the sheriff’s department in September, Sergeant Skolfield wrote that Mr. Card’s brother assured him that he would work with their father to ensure that Mr. Card did not have access to weapons.

“They have a way of securing his weapons,” the sergeant wrote in the last line of his report.

He contributed to the reporting Maria Cramer, Shaila Dewan, John Ismay, Amelia Nierenberg and Dave Phillips. Kirsten Noyes and Jack Begg contributed to the research.

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