(CTN NEWS) – In the wake of a horrific mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, where 18 innocent lives were tragically cut short, authorities have launched an intensive manhunt for the alleged perpetrator, Robert Card.
This tragic incident also left 13 individuals injured, adding to the profound grief and shock that has enveloped the tight-knit community.
Law enforcement agencies have urgently issued a warning, characterizing Card as both “armed and dangerous,” emphasizing the importance of residents taking refuge within their homes to ensure their safety.
The unsettling situation took a startling turn on a Thursday evening as the police descended upon a residence in Bowdoin, a location approximately 20 minutes away from the site of the shooting.
Officers were executing multiple search warrants in their relentless pursuit of the suspect.
Witnesses and local residents were startled by loud noises coming from the scene, accompanied by the fervent cries of law enforcement officers imploring Card to surrender.
Over a megaphone, FBI agents, in collaboration with local law enforcement, fervently appealed to the suspect to exit the house “with your hands up.”
However, after several hours, the police presence at the location seemed to dissipate, raising questions about the developments.
The Maine Department of Public Safety has been proactive in reassuring the public that law enforcement is employing unwavering dedication in their quest to locate and apprehend Card.
The ongoing investigation involves rigorously tracking down each lead as part of their commitment to ensure justice is served, and the safety of the community is protected.
The tragic shooting rampage commenced in the peaceful town of Lewiston, unfolding within the confines of a bowling alley shortly before 19:00 local time (23:00 GMT). Police officials revealed that within this initial act of violence, one woman and six men lost their lives, while the community was left grappling with the devastating aftermath.
This chilling scene was followed by another wave of gunfire within approximately ten minutes, as reports of shots fired at a nearby restaurant, Schemengees Bar & Grille, emerged.
Tragically, this second episode of bloodshed resulted in the loss of eight more lives, all men.
Sixteen individuals who were caught up in the harrowing incident were swiftly transported to local hospitals for emergency medical care, reflecting the severity of the situation.
Regrettably, three of these victims later succumbed to their injuries, adding to the heart-wrenching toll of the tragedy.
The sense of shock and trauma reverberated through Lewiston and the adjacent towns, prompting a shelter-in-place notice for the community.
This precautionary measure was underscored by the closure of schools and the majority of local businesses, and it is anticipated that this somber atmosphere will persist into the following day.
As residents largely remained within the safety of their homes, the presence of vigilant police officers patrolling the streets became a poignant sight.
The only areas experiencing activity were in proximity to the two shooting locations and the Central Maine Medical Center.
Dr. John Alexander, the hospital’s chief medical officer, described the incident as “unprecedented” for the typically quiet city of Lewiston.
He commended the remarkable response of approximately 50 medical providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, and surgeons who rushed to the scene to offer their expertise and assistance in treating the victims.
Providing insights into the suspect’s background, the Maine State Police shared information about his recent struggles with mental health issues, including auditory hallucinations and threats of violence directed at a military facility in southern Maine.
The suspect had reportedly been admitted to a mental health treatment facility during the summer following erratic behavior observed during his training at the US Military Academy.
Contrary to earlier reports suggesting that the suspect may have possessed advanced firearms training, the police clarified that there was “no indication he attended advanced weaponry courses,” shedding light on the evolving nature of the investigation.
Maine’s Governor Janet Mills, who once called Lewiston home, expressed her profound sorrow and declared it a “dark day” for the state of Maine.
She committed to pursuing full justice for the victims and their grieving families as the community grapples with the traumatic aftermath of the mass shooting.
The manhunt for the suspect has mobilized a collaborative effort involving the FBI, as well as various federal US law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with local and state police.
Neighboring states have offered their resources and remain vigilant, recognizing the potential for the suspect to have crossed state lines.
Additionally, Canadian border officials have been placed on high alert in case the suspect attempts to flee across the border.
Notably, Maine boasts the lowest homicide rate of any state in the US, making this horrific event all the more shocking.
Bestselling author Stephen King, a prominent Maine resident, voiced his outrage, stating that the shooting unfolded near his home.
He decried the violence as “madness in the name of freedom” and called for the implementation of new gun safety laws aimed at regulating assault rifles.
Schemengees Bar & Grille, the scene of one part of the attack, took to Facebook to express the senselessness of the tragedy, emphasizing the loss of valuable members of the community and the collective struggle to find meaning in such a devastating event.
Just-In-Time Recreation, the location where the attack initially began, shared their profound disbelief at the surreal nature of the tragedy.
They acknowledged the painful reality that no words could rectify or alleviate the profound sorrow inflicted by this horrifying incident.
President Joe Biden issued an order to lower flags at the White House and other federal buildings to half-mast as a solemn tribute to the lives lost in this tragedy.
He also used this moment to call upon Republican lawmakers in Congress to enact gun safety legislation, stressing that it is the least that Americans owe those who will bear the physical and mental scars of yet another mass attack.
Senator Susan Collins, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, reiterated the call for change, specifically advocating for a ban on high-capacity magazines.
Her words reflected the weight of the tragedy and the shared grief that now envelops the state of Maine.
She emphasized the severity of this heinous attack, which has taken at least 18 lives and inflicted numerous injuries, marking the most devastating mass shooting ever experienced in the state of Maine.
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