A massive manhunt is currently underway in the state of Maine following a tragic mass shooting that unfolded across two separate locations on Wednesday evening. The incident has resulted in a devastating toll, with at least 22 individuals losing their lives, and 30 others sustaining injuries.
During a late-night press conference, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck emphasized that the situation remains highly dynamic, preventing law enforcement from confirming an exact count of the victims at this time.
A person of interest in this harrowing event has been identified as 40-year-old Robert R. Card, hailing from Bowdoin, Maine, as revealed by the Lewiston Police Department on Wednesday night. An internal bulletin from the Maine Information and Analysis Center, notes that Card possesses a background as a firearms instructor and has military experience. Authorities have issued a stern warning that Card is to be considered “armed and dangerous,” and individuals should avoid approaching him if spotted.
Furthermore, Card has reportedly dealt with mental health issues, including hearing voices, and has allegedly made threats related to the National Guard base in Maine. According to the bulletin, he was confined to a mental health facility for a period of two weeks over the summer.
In light of these developments, residents in Lewiston have been urged to “shelter in place” and remain inside their homes with locked doors. This directive was later expanded to encompass the town of Lisbon, with authorities making every effort to secure the area.
In the course of the investigation, Card’s white Subaru Outback was discovered near the Lisbon boat dock on Frost Hill Avenue, adjacent to Route 196. As a result, Androscoggin County officials have imposed a shelter-in-place order for the entire county, advising residents to secure their homes and vehicles.
The active shooting incidents transpired at two distinct locations, identified as Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and Sparetime Recreation. The investigation has led to the closure of Mollison Way, where Sparetime Recreation is situated, and a section of River Road from Locust Street to South Avenue, which is now accessible solely to residents.
Central Maine Medical Center, operating as a level two trauma center, confirmed its response to a “mass casualty, mass shooter event” on Wednesday evening. As of 9 p.m., the hospital was unable to release specific casualty figures but affirmed its collaboration with other area hospitals to manage patient care.
The Lewiston Police Department set up a reunification area at Auburn Middle School in Auburn, Maine, for those seeking information about the whereabouts of their loved ones.
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The White House disclosed that President Biden has been briefed on the mass shooting and will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds.
Maine Governor Janet Mills acknowledged the shooting and urged residents to comply with law enforcement directives via a statement on social media, expressing her intention to monitor the situation closely and maintain communication with public safety officials.
FBI Boston conveyed its coordination with state and local law enforcement agencies and its readiness to provide support as necessary. The bureau also encouraged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or individuals to law enforcement.
In response to the ongoing situation, Lewiston Public School Superintendent Jake Langlais declared the cancellation of school on Thursday. He encouraged students and the community to stay close to their loved ones while expressing sympathy for those affected by the tragedy.
The impact of the events led to the closure of several educational institutions, including Maine School Administrator Districts 52 and 75, Central Maine Community College, and Bates College, as reported by local news outlets.
The search for the shooting suspect has prompted additional security measures in various school districts, such as MSAD 35 in Eliot, where law enforcement officers will be present in all school buildings.
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The city of Lewiston announced the closure of all municipal buildings on Thursday, including City Hall, Lewiston Public Library, and the Armory, while canceling all scheduled programs, events, and early voting opportunities at Lewiston City Hall. Non-emergency personnel have been instructed to remain at home.
The situation is unfolding rapidly, and a news conference is scheduled to occur at Lewiston City Hall on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.