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Law enforcement descend on suspected mass shooter's Maine home as manhunt intensifies

Law enforcement officials surround a house on Meadow Road in Bowdoin, Maine.
Nick Song
Main Public
Law enforcement officials surround a house on Meadow Road in Bowdoin, Maine.

Updated October 26, 2023 at 10:10 PM ET

For the latest on the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, you canfollow NPR's live blog here.

A crush of law enforcement officers swarmed the perimeter of the home of suspected gunman Robert Card in Bowdoin, Maine, on Thursday night — more than 24 hours after a mass shooting at a Lewiston bowling alley and restaurant left at least 18 dead and 13 injured.

It is the second time Thursday that officers have descended on the house, which records show is owned by Card. For about two hours, teams of multi-agency officers, including the FBI, stationed themselves outside of the home, using drones to surveil the property. They also blared "standard search warrant announcements" over a loud speaker "to ensure the safety of all involved."

"It is unknown whether Robert Card is in any of the homes law enforcement will search," Shannon Moss, a spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a statement on Thursday night.

As the house came under intense media focus, Moss said that the loudspeaker announcements were standard when executing search warrants.

Moss added: "Law enforcement officials are simply doing their due diligence by tracking down every lead in an effort to locate and apprehend Card."

Meantime, the residents of Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin, which remain under a shelter-in-place order, are balanced between sorrow and fear as authorities continue the statewide search for the 40-year-old.

Authorities are cautioning the public not to approach the suspect under any circumstances and have described him as "armed and dangerous."

Wednesday's violence marks the deadliest mass shooting in Maine in recent history, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills confirmed at a Thursday press conference that 18 people were killed and another 13 injured in the shootings at Just-In-Time Recreation, a Lewiston bowling alley, and Schemengees Bar & Grille, which is only a few minutes drive away.

"This is a dark day for Maine," Mills said. "I know it's hard for us to think about healing when our hearts our broken. But I want every person in Maine to know that we will heal together. We are strong, we are resilient, we are a very caring people."

Mills said that Maine's 1.3 million residents are sharing in the sorrow of people who lost loved ones.

Among those mourning, are the owners of Just-In-Time Recreation. In a Facebook post, they wrote: "We lost some amazing and whole hearted people from our bowling family and community last night. There are no words to fix this or make it better."

Officials say it is too soon to release information about the victims or speculate about Card's motives.

Here's what we know so far about Card

Robert R. Card IIwas born in Maine, in April 1983, according to public records. His most recent address is listed in Bowdoin, just east of Lewiston. He graduated from high school in 2001 and attended the University of Maine.

Card owns a 2013 Subaru Outback; a white car matching that description was found near a boat dock in the nearby town of Lisbon.

A search of public records found no criminal records for Card.

In a Facebook post, the Lewiston Police Department released what appeared to be a driver's license picture of Card. He appears to be the same person shown in surveillance images from the bowling alley, wearing a brown sweatshirt and carrying an AR-style long gun.

Card has extensive military experience, having enlisted in December 2002, the U.S. Army told NPR.

Card "is a petroleum supply specialist in the Army Reserve," a service spokesperson said. "He has no combat deployments."

Card has obtained the rank of sergeant first class.

"His awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal x2, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon," the army representative said.

The Associated Press and other outlets are reporting that Card suffered from mental health issues, citing a law enforcement bulletin. NPR has not been able to independently verify those reports.

What happened on Wednesday night

Maine State Police Col. William Ross told reporters that police first received reports of an active shooter at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley at 6:56 p.m. ET Wednesday.

At 7:08 p.m., police received multiple 911 calls about an active shooter inside the Schemengees Bar & Grille. Multiple law enforcement teams joined the scene at this point.

Ross offered the following breakdown of what's known about the victims:

  • One female and six males were found dead at the bowling alley, all from apparent gunshot wounds.
  • Eight males were killed at the bar — seven outside the establishment; one inside.
  • Three people died after being transferred to area hospitals for treatment.
  • Eight of the 18 victims have been identified and their next of kin have been notified.

Ross said police have issued an arrest warrant for eight counts of murder. He said the counts were likely to increase as more victims are identified.

State and federal partners are aiding the investigation

Jodi Cohen, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau's Boston Division — which oversees the state of Maine — said the FBI is working with its law enforcement partners to process evidence from the scenes as well as provide investigative, tactical and victim support.

Cohen promised that the FBI will carry out the case with rigor.

The FBI is asking the public to stay vigilant and come forward with any information that might be helpful to investigators.

Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck added that when officials have asked federal partners and neighboring states for any resources, "the answer has been yes. Period."

There are still many unanswered questions

Sauschuck declined to answer reporters' questions about Card's weapon, mental health history or possible motive.

He also declined to elaborate on the ages of the victims, saying that information wasn't immediately available. Responding to a question about whether DNA is being collected for victim identification, Sauschuck said efforts to identify victims and notify their families vary on a case-by-case basis.

For the latest on the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, you canfollow NPR's live blog here.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman
Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.
Bill Chappell
Bill Chappell is a writer, reporter and editor, and a leader on NPR's flagship digital news team. He has frequently contributed to NPR's audio and social media platforms, including hosting dozens of live shows online.
Vanessa Romo
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.