At least 22 people were killed and up to 60 others were wounded on Wednesday in mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, CNN reported, citing multiple law enforcement sources.
Maine State Police and a county sheriff previously reported there had been an active shooter on Wednesday night but did not provide details.
“There is an active shooter in Lewiston,” Maine state police said on Twitter. “We ask people to shelter in place. Please stay inside your home with the doors locked. Law enforcement is currently investigating at multiple locations.”
The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office posted two photographs of a suspect on Facebook, saying he was at large.
The county sheriff asked for the public’s help in identifying the pictured suspect, a bearded man in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans holding a rifle in the firing position.
The Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston issued a statement saying it was “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event” and coordinating with area hospitals to take patients.
Lewiston is part of Androscoggin County and about 35 miles north of Maine’s largest city, Portland.
The Sun Journal, citing a Lewiston police spokesperson, reported shootings at three separate businesses: Sparetime Recreation, Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and a Walmart distribution centre.
President Joe Biden has been briefed and will continue to receive updates, a US official said in Washington.
Maine Governor Janet Mills said in a statement she had been briefed on the situation.
The shooting is understood to be the deadliest in the US since at least August 2019, when a gunman opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart with an AK-47 rifle, killing 23 in a shooting that prosecutors branded an anti-Hispanic hate crime, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The number of US shootings in which four or more people were shot has surged since the Covid pandemic began in 2020, with 647 occurring in 2022 and 679 projected to occur in 2023, based on trends as of July, according to data from the archive.
The deadliest US mass shooting on record is the massacre of 58 people by a gunman firing on a Las Vegas country music festival from a high-rise hotel perch in 2017.
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