Home » Lewiston, Maine, Mass Shooting Leaves 15+ Dead, Dozens Hurt
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Lewiston, Maine, Mass Shooting Leaves 15+ Dead, Dozens Hurt

Mass shootings at two businesses in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday evening are believed to have left 15 to 20 people dead and dozens more injured, law enforcement sources told NBC News.

The shootings at a bowling alley and restaurant sparked a manhunt for a person of interest. No arrests had been announced as of early Thursday morning. Fifty people were injured, though not all were shot, the law enforcement sources told NBC News some appeared to have been hurt in a stampede.

Authorities have not yet publicly announced a death toll a news conference is slated for 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning at Lewiston City Hall. NBC News and this station had earlier reported, citing a local police source, that 22 people had been killed and 50-60 injured.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office said around 8 p.m. that a suspect was at large, sharing a photo of a gunman walking into an establishment with a weapon raised to his shoulder. The county issued a shelter-in-place order, with residents of Lewiston, nearby Auburn and Lisbon where a vehicle of interest was found amid the search specifically asked to shelter in place throughout the night as the search for the shooter continued.

“Please stay off the roads to allow emergency responders access to the hospitals,” police said.

Scott Sweetow, a former agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, told NBC10 Boston the gun appears to be an AR-15 style weapon, a very common type of semi-automatic rifle.

“It has an optic on it, some sort of scope,” Sweetow said. “He also has a flashlight on the front, some sort of tactical light. He also has some sort of magazines. They appear go be three-round magazines attached together. He’s kitted out to kill people.”

Just before 11 p.m., Lewiston police released a photo of a person of interest wanted in connection with the mass shooting, who they identified as 40-year-old Robert Card, of Bowdoin. They said he should be considered “armed and dangerous.” According to a state police bulletin, Card is a firearms instructor trained by the military and was recently committed to a mental health facility. The police bulletin was being circulated by law enforcement officials in the wake of the shootings.

The bulletin said Card had been trained as a firearms instructor at a U.S. Army Reserve training facility in Maine. The document said Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer of 2023. It did not provide specific details about his treatment or condition.

They also released a photo of a vehicle they are looking for, which they later said was found about 10 miles away in Lisbon.

“This is a very active and dynamic situation. The image of at least one active killer has been released by police. He is armed with a tactical rifle,” Jim Cavanaugh, an NBC News law enforcement contributor and a former special agent in the ATF, said in a text message.

“Law Enforcement is now swarming the area attempting to locate, isolate and eliminate the active killer or killers,” he said.

In a news conference on Wednesday night, Mike Sauschuck, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said hundreds of officers are involved in the search. He said additional information will be released throughout the night as it becomes available.

He said a “reunification center” has been set up at nearby Auburn Middle School for anyone looking to reunite with family members who are unaccounted for.

“This is a very fluid situation,” Sauschuck said, declining to give a total number of people dead or injured. “We are looking for this person of interest right now.”

Lewiston police said the shootings occurred at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley, and Schemengees Bar and Grille, a restaurant. NBC News chief justice contributor Jonathan Dienst said the suspect might have a past criminal record, but there is no word yet on a motive.

There were no initial signs of terrorism.

Central Maine Medical Center said it was “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event,” adding that there are “no specifics to share on the number of casualties.” A woman who answered the phone in the emergency department said no further information could be released and that the hospital itself was on lockdown.

Maine Medical Center in Portland is also creating critical care and operating room capacity as it prepares to take in patients who were shot in Lewiston.

“Out of an abundance of caution and due the dynamic nature of this situation, MMC and other MaineHealth hospitals have closed their campuses to non-hospital personnel and non-patients until further notice,” the hospital said in a statement.

Melinda Small, the owner of Legends Sports Bar and Grill, said her staff immediately locked their doors and moved all 25 customers and employees away from the doors after a customer reported hearing about the shooting at the bowling alley less than a quarter-mile away around 7 p.m. Soon, the police flooded the roadway and a police officer eventually escorted everyone out of the building four at a time. Everyone in the bar is safe.

“I am honestly in a state of shock. I am blessed that my team responded quickly and everyone is safe,” Small told The Associated Press. “But the same time, my heart is broken for this area and for what everyone is dealing with. I just feel numb.”

Ange Amores, a spokesperson for the city of Lewiston, said city officials are not commenting on the shooting. Amores said Maine State Police were planning to hold a news conference, likely at city hall, to update the public on Wednesday night.

Mayor Jason Levesque, the mayor of nearby Auburn, urged people in his city, Lewiston and the surrounding region to shelter in place.

“We have everybody on board right now, from state, local and federal officials working on this,” he told NBC News in a phone interview.

The alert for Lewiston was made shortly after 8 p.m. as the sheriff’s office reported that law enforcement agencies were investigating “two active shooter events.” Officials issued an update around 10 p.m. for what they described as a manhunt.

“Avoid the area until authorities give the all-clear,” the statement said. “Seek alternative routes to circumvent the area and any disruptions. If already operating in the affected region, adhere to all instructions issued by local officials, including the shelter-in-place order.”

“We are encouraging all businesses to lock down and or close while we investigate,” the sheriff’s office reported.

A spokesperson for Maine Department of Public Safety urged residents to stay in their homes with their doors locked.

“Law enforcement is currently investigating at two locations right now,” Shannon Moss said. “Again please stay off the streets and allow law enforcement to diffuse the situation.”

Anyone who sees “any suspicious activity or individuals” is asked to call 911.

Police also released a photo of a vehicle they are looking for in the shooting investigation.

“I am aware of and have been briefed on the active shooter situation in Lewiston,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “I urge all people in the area to follow the direction of State and local enforcement. I will to continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with public safety officials.”

Sen. Angus King also issued a statement on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, saying he is “deeply sad” for the city of Lewiston.

President Joe Biden was at a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday night, but a senior White House official said he has been briefed on what is known so far about the mass shooting and will continue to receive updates. Biden also spoke by phone with Gov. Mills, Sens. King and Susan Collins and Congressman Jared Golden, “offering full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack,” according to the White House press office.

U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland has also been briefed on the situation and is following the latest developments.

“The Attorney General has been briefed and will continue to closely monitor the situation. Federal law enforcement agencies are assisting our state and local law enforcement partners in Lewiston, Maine,” spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa told NBC News.

The ATF’s Boston office said it is also responding to the active shooter event in Maine.

Bates College, which is located in Lewiston, is currently on lockdown, according to a campus spokesperson. The school said Thursday morning that no students or employees were killed in the shootings.

Bowdoin College in Brunswick also cancelled in-person classes Thurday due to the ongoing search for the Lewiston shooter. The campus remains in “lockout” mode until further notice.

Public schools in Lewiston will be closed on Thursday, the district’s superintendent said in a message on the school district website.

“There remains a lot of unknowns at this time. Information moves quickly but not alway accurately,” Jake Langlais, the superintendent, said in a message on the district’s website. “Please continue to shelter in place or get to safety. We will continue to update you with information and next steps as appropriate.”

“Stay close to your loved ones. Embrace them. Our prayers go out to those who lost someone tonight,” he added.

Lewiston, a city of about 38,000 people, is located in south-central Maine, about 35 miles north of Portland on Interstate 95.

Source: 6South Florida