US hunts for Army reservist suspected of killing 18 in Maine

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LEWISTON, Maine – US police on Thursday searched the woods, waterways and towns of Maine for a US Army reservist wanted in connection with the mass shootings that killed 18 people and wounded 13 more the previous night at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston.

The town of Lewiston, a former textile hub of 38,000 people, and neighbouring communities largely shut down to enable hundreds of officers to expand their manhunt with an arrest warrant for Robert R. Card. Card, 40, is a sergeant at a nearby US Army Reserve base who law enforcement officials said had been temporarily committed to a mental health facility over the summer.

Police circulated photographs of a bearded man in a brown hooded sweatshirt and jeans at one of the crime scenes armed with what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle.

There was an eerie quiet in the normally bustling city on the banks of the Androscoggin River, with almost no cars on the roads and just a few people outside. Many downtown businesses appeared to be closed. An illuminated “Shelter in Place” sign was stationed on Lewiston’s Main Street.

Public school districts cancelled classes and police cordoned off the roads leading to the shooting sites. Rifle-toting security agents in bulletproof vests guarded the entrances to the Central Maine Medical Center hospital, where many of the shooting victims were taken.

Card’s trail led to Lisbon, about 7 miles (11km) to the southeast, where Maine State Police found a white SUV they believe Card used to get away and parked at a boat launch on the river. Public records showed he has three watercraft registrations: two Sea-Doos and a Bayliner.

Card is a petroleum supply specialist at the Army Reserve base in Saco, Maine, who had never been deployed in combat since enlisting in 2002, the US Army said.

A Maine law enforcement bulletin described Card as a trained firearms instructor who recently said he had been hearing voices and had other mental health issues.

He threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco and was “reported to have been committed to mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released,” according to the bulletin from the Maine Information & Analysis Center, a unit of the state police. Reuters could not confirm the details reported in the bulletin.

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