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Maine Massacre – Who was Robert Card?

NBC News
Victims of the Main Shooting are identified and commemorated in the small town of Lewinston, Maine

Wednesday, October 25, 2023, marked yet another tragic mass shooting in America. 


At 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, in the small town of Lewiston Maine, 40-year-old Robert Card, a military reservist with a history of mental health problems, attacked two locations – Schemengees Bar and Grille, a local restaurant, and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley. 18 people were killed between both locations, and 13 more were injured (CBS News).


Card immediately fled after the shooting and law enforcement quickly launched a two-day manhunt – involving hundreds of both state and local officers as well as FBI agents. Police issued an arrest warrant on multiple accounts of murder and released photos of the accused hoping to be contacted with any information. 


Mr. Basili, an English teacher at Ramapo, detailed his feelings upon reading about the shooting. “Unfortunately, stories of shootings like this happen a lot, so sometimes you have to take a moment, to avoid being desensitized, and remind yourself that real people died or lost their loved ones…I heard about it in the news and how at first the gunman had not been found, which was scary.” 


Upon receiving numerous calls from Card’s family identifying him as the suspect, police surrounded Card’s last known residence in Bowdoin, Maine. The stakeout was unsuccessful. An underwater search was conducted near a boat launch by the Androscoggin River, where his abandoned vehicle was eventually found (CBS News).


Police recovered an assault rifle from the vehicle that Card had purchased legally.  Card was found dead soon after, in the overflow parking lot in the back of a tractor-trailer at the Maine Recycling Corporation – where he had previously worked as a commercial driver. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Multiple other firearms were discovered on his person and from his residence – despite never having combat deployments. Card’s military ranking was sergeant first class and he served as a petroleum supply specialist earning a number of awards for his service (ABC News).


According to CBS News, what was determined by investigators as a possible suicide note was recovered at Card’s home in Maine, addressed to his son and detailing his personal passwords and bank information. Using both the letter and having spoken to Card’s sister, investigators were able to determine a possible motive: a current or ex-girlfriend. It is unknown if this woman was present at either location(CBS News).


Even despite the possibility that this mass shooting may have started as a domestic dispute, according to ABC News, an A.U.S Defense Department official confirmed that Card had begun “behaving erratically” while at an Army Reserve Unit Camp Smith Training Center this summer.  “‘Out of concern for his safety, the unit requested that law enforcement be contacted.’” the official claimed (ABC News). 


Soon after, New York State Police officers responded and transported Card to Keller Army Community Hospital in the U.S. Military Academy for medical evaluation. He was then committed to a mental health facility for two weeks. Card is reported to have threatened other soldiers with violence and even threatened to shoot up a military base in Saco (CBS News). 


 Emma Ufackar, a sophomore student at Ramapo, brings up an interesting point about this case. “This incident is obviously extremely upsetting to hear about. I was also honestly surprised to hear about the institutions in which it took place, considering that the majority of these kinds of tragedies we hear about occur in schools.”


The combination of the location, death toll, and mental health history of the culprit contribute to the heartbreaking and shocking nature of this crime.

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