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December 1, 2023



Gathering helps bring sense of peace, resident says

LISBON, Maine — Julia Bergerom-Smith, of Auburn, Maine, said being able to have a vigil has allowed the community to be together and that has offered a sense of peace.

“I’m just really proud of Lewiston. I’m proud of the all the law enforcement that came in,” she said. “I’m proud of everyone who did check on each other and how quickly there was kind of like a behind the scenes network of victims and their families and friends knew who had been involved before anything was released.”

Vigil a chance for healing

LISBON, Maine — Chris Rugullies, of Lisbon, came out to a vigil for the victims tonight with his wife. He said he hopes what happened will lead to change.

“As a country, we have to figure this problem out. People have some very serious mental health issues that aren’t being addressed,” he said. “Combine that with the powerful weapon that guy had, you have to address it.”

The vigil was organized by Positive Change Lisbon. Board member Bill Kuhl said he thought it was important that they give the grieving community an opportunity for them to come together.

“Two days of lockdown for such a reason is tough on folks,” he said. “Something like this scared so many people. It’s not the kind of thing you expect in Maine, in small towns, and this gives people a chance to come together and hopefully, it’ll be cathartic in a way.”

‘It’s about supporting our community’: Vigil held in Lisbon

LISBON, Maine — Dozens of people gathered in Lisbon tonight, for the first time since a shelter-in-place order was lifted, to honor the victims of the Lewiston shootings.

“This is a tough week,” a local pastor said at a vigil at the Worumbo Riverfront Event Center. “My heart, as your hearts, this past week broke for the city of Lewiston.”

The pastor thanked local police and law enforcement officers who traveled from other states for their assistance. As he talked, families hugged each other and held hands.

Faith Hauger and her husband, Gary Hauger, from Lisbon, said they came to the vigil because they felt it was important to support the community.

“We know the facilities in Lewiston. We are aware of some of the people who are victims, but overall, it’s about supporting our community,” Faith said.

Gary added: “Emotions are high, but we all need to get to a point where we need to move on.”

People gather Saturday at a vigil in Lisbon, Maine, for the victims of the mass shootings in Lewiston.Matt Rourke / AP

The couple said they never imagined such horrific violence would happen in the tight-knit community of Lewiston, about 8 miles from Lisbon.

Gary said he believes by coming together, everyone can start to heal.

“I’m relieved at this point that things are over, but there’s still a lot of people that are hurting and that’s the reason to be here,” he said.

Area where suspect’s body was found was overlooked in two previous searches

Kathy Park and Dennis Romero

Authorities said the area where the suspect’s body was found yesterday was overlooked during two previous sweeps of the property — a Lisbon, Maine recycling facility — that were conducted on Thursday.

Those searches failed to clear a parking lot on the perimeter of Maine Recycling Corp.’s property, as it was entirely overlooked, state and local police leaders said today and yesterday.

The reason why wasn’t entirely clear.

The suspect was found dead in one of many big-rig trailers in the lot used to store and transport material to be recycled, Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said today.

Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee said his department didn’t have necessary resources of its own to search the lot; another agency would have been needed to provide a tactical team, often used to extract armed-and-volatile threats, because he doesn’t have one.

“I have 17 officers, I don’t have a tactical team,” the chief said in an interview. “My guys have, you know, gear but not to the extent that a tactical team would have. And we have to coordinate with the state police on situations like this, and we did.”

In an aerial view, law enforcement officials are seen Saturday investigating the area where the suspect was found dead in Lisbon, Maine. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Nonetheless, his department did do the first search of the property, with the exception of the lot, according to Sauschuck. “It was cleared by Chief McGee and the Lisbon Police Department,” he said at today’s news conference.

Then, Sauschuck said, a joint team including Maine State Police officers and local law enforcement, cleared the property a second time Thursday.

There was no definitive answer about why the parking lot was overlooked.

“There was a focus on the main recycling [facility],” McGee said. “You have to understand that there was 55 to 60 trailers, and they’re full of … crushed up plastic, crushed up tin and so forth.”

Sauschuck said officers conducting the two searchers were focused on a core portion of the property he described as a triangle. He described the parking lot almost as an appendage, across a small road from the main facility.

It took the owner of the facility, who wasn’t identified, to suggest to officers at the scene that they should look around in that lot because the suspect, who used to work for the recycler, may know the layout of the property well, Sauschuck said.

“He could be tucked in the back of one of these trailers,” the commissioner quoted the owner as saying.

Sauschuck continued, “Nobody had any idea that across the street, across Capital Avenue, there’s an overflow parking lot, which is [Maine] Recycling Corp. property.”

McGee described is as an area where the only truck traffic is allowed on the property and where large box trailers are parked.

The body was discovered in a box trailer in the lot, Sauschuck said. The doors to the trailer were unlocked, he said. 

Carl Sheline, the mayor of Lewiston, expressed his gratitude for the law enforcement who helped in the investigation.

Speaking on “TODAY” after the gunman was found dead, Sheline said the violence was “tragic and senseless,” and “Now the healing process can begin.”

‘We will not forget’

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Bre Allard and her children, 8-year-old Zeke and 5-year-old Lucy, place crosses and signs in the ground near the Schemengees Bar, where a gunman opened fire on Wednesday.

Victims’ families react to death of suspect

LEWISTON, Maine — Some loved ones of the victims in Maine’s deadliest mass shooting said that Card being found dead has given them relief, but they will still seek accountability.

Alicia Lachance, whose daughter, Tricia Asselin, worked part-time at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, one of two targeted locations, said she had “no mercy” for Card.

She said that based on the reports that he suffered from serious mental health issues and continued to own a firearm, there remain outstanding questions.

“Everyone that died and lost their life because of the negligence along the way, their families should be able to get some form of justice,” Lachance said. Card “should have been properly treated, and something was lacking.”

Leroy Walker, whose son, Joseph “Joey” Walker, was a manager at Schemengees Bar and Grille and died in the shooting there, said with Card’s death, “I have no real closure.”

“I sure was hoping they would find him alive,” Walker said. “Although there will be a lot of closure for the people searching for him and the people living in the areas.”

Ralph Brewer, whose brother, Peyton Brewer-Ross, was killed at Schemengees, added that he is “thankful for the tireless effort by local, state and federal law enforcement to bring this chapter to a close. Maine can begin the healing process in earnest now.”

Candlelight vigil to remember victims will be held tonight in Lisbon

A candlelight vigil to remember the victims killed in the Lewiston shooting will be held tonight in Maine at 6 p.m., Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee said.

It will be held at the Worumbo Mill site in Lisbon Falls, according to McGee.

It’s not clear if schools in the area will be opened Monday, added McGee

Lisbon Police Chief: ‘We used every resource that was available’

Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee said numerous resources from across the state and agencies were used to assist in the search for the Lewiston shooting suspect.

“As you can imagine, it was an astronomical amount of resources being used across our community,” McGee said at a briefing today. “Not everybody’s in marked police cars, not everybody’s in full uniform. But there was a lot of resources from across New England that was here, including helicopters moments after I arrived on scene when that car was located. So we used every resource that was available.”

McGee defended the allocation of resources, saying the search area for the suspect was a large industrial park.

“But I can say that there was numerous resources from state, state police, all the local agencies, all the sheriff’s departments across the state of Maine, federal agencies,” he said.

Law enforcement would not confirm if suspect had prior relationship with any victims

Law enforcement would not confirm or comment on if Robert Card had a previous relationship with any of the victims.

3 victims still in ‘critical care,’ according to Department of Public Safety

Three Lewiston shooting victims are still in “critical care,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck did not identify any of the victims.

“And I don’t have any more specifics reference to the remaining 10 in that scenario,” Sauschuck said. “And as you might imagine, these individuals passed away because of this crime. And these other folks have to live the rest of their lives. So I’m not sure that they want to be identified.”

Suspect worked for Maine Recycling Corporation ‘at some point’

Lewiston shooting suspect Robert Card worked for the Maine Recycling Corporation “at some point” where he was found dead, according to Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety Michael Sauschuck.

“I don’t know if he was currently employed or not,” Sauschuck said at a briefing this morning. “And I don’t think I’m in a position to answer that.”

Law enforcement don’t know how long the suspect was dead, pending autopsy

Law enforcement do not know how long Lewiston shooting suspect was dead when they found him in a trailer parked on Maine Recycling Corporation property, according to Michael Sauschuck, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

Sauschuck said the pending autopsy will provide more clarity.

Law enforcement don’t have access to any ‘forcibly committed for treatment information’ for the suspect

Law enforcement doesn’t have access to any “forcibly committed for treatment information” for the Lewiston shooting suspect, said Michael Sauschuck, commissioner for Department of Public Safety.

This may mean that a background check in Maine would not have stopped Robert Card from purchasing weapons.

“If you talk about is there a motive here, right, I think clearly, there’s a mental health component to this,” Sauschuck said at a briefing today.

Note found in suspect’s home had ‘tenor’ of suicide note

A note found in the Lewiston shooting suspect’s home wasn’t explicitly a suicide note, but had the “tone and tenor” that “the individual was not going to be around,” said Michael Sauschuck, commissioner for the Department of Public Safety.

The note was addressed to a loved one and had the passcode to his phone and his bank account numbers, according to Sauschuck.

Authorities are currently working on getting into the phone, Sauschuck said.

Suspect found dead in parking lot across area previously cleared twice by police department

Lewiston shooting suspect Robert Card was found dead in an area across a business previously cleared twice by the Lisbon Police Department, according to Michael Sauschuck, commissioner for the Department of Public Safety.

Card was found in a trailer in a parking lot near the Maine Recycling Corporation at 61 Capital Avenue in Lisbon, Maine, Sauschuck said. Law enforcement had cleared the recycling facility twice before, but only checked the parking lot across Capital Avenue once the owner suggested it. The parking lot is located on Maine Recycling Corporation property.

A tactical team with Maine State Police ultimately located the suspect’s body in one of the trailers in the parking lot last night.

‘Americans should not have to live like this,’ Biden says

“Americans should not have to live like this,” President Joe Biden said this morning on social media, adding that he will continue his work with lawmakers to address gun violence.

News conference scheduled for 10 a.m.

Officials will offer a briefing on the Lewiston investigation at 10 this morning.

The update follows the confirmation that the shooter was found dead last night.

Officials have not provided information about exactly where Card’s body was found, and it was not clear last night how long he’d been dead. A motive has not been released in the shootings.

How the fatal attacks and manhunt played out

Marlene Lenthang and Dennis Romero

A frantic manhunt is over for the suspect in shootings that left at least 18 people dead and 13 others injured in Maine on Wednesday night.

Authorities have named Robert Card, 40, as the suspect in the shooting spree at a Lewiston restaurant and a nearby bowling alley that was hosting children. He was found dead Friday night, officials said.

A timeline, based on information provided by authorities, shows what we know about how the shootings unfolded.

Read the full story here.

Hunting ban lifted upon news of suspect’s death

A hunting ban that was planned for today in four towns in the manhunt area has been lifted.

Today marks Maine Resident Only Day, which is traditionally the state’s most popular day for the sport.

Before Card’s death was announced, hunting was set to be prohibited in Lewiston, Lisbon, Bowdoin and Monmouth.

‘It’s time for us to mourn,’ Lewiston leader says

LEWISTON, Maine — Emotions are running high in Lewiston, a community that had to set aside mourning the 18 lives lost while the manhunt for the suspected gunman played out.

But upon learning that he had been found dead, leaders, including the police chief and City Councilor Linda Scott, expressed relief.

The city “can sleep now,” Scott said.

She was ready to honor the grief that victims’ families were feeling.

“Now we can reach out a little further and really get to embrace them and hold them and help them,” Scott said.

‘Our community can now breathe a sigh of relief,’ police chief says

Lewiston’s police chief said he was “elated” to get the phone call that Card, who had been the subject of a massive manhunt since 18 people were fatally shot in two attacks, was found dead.

“Our community can now breathe a sigh of relief,” Chief David St. Pierre said Friday night.

But the investigation continues, even as the suspected gunman no longer poses a threat. “Our work, again, is not done here,” St. Pierre said.

Lewiston and other communities were told to shelter in place after the mass shootings at a bar and bowling alley Wednesday evening. The shelter in place orders were lifted Friday evening.

Hundreds of state, local, and law enforcement personnel searched for Card since the shootings.

“We’re going to grieve for the families that lost loved ones here, we’re going to continue to work,” St. Pierre said.

All 18 victims in Lewiston shootings identified

All 18 people killed in the two shootings Wednedsday at Just-in-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar and Grille have been identified:

Ronald G. Morin, 55; Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40; Joshua A. Seal, 36; Bryan M. MacFarlane, 41; Joseph Lawrence Walker, 57; Arthur Fred Strout, 42; Maxx A. Hathaway, 35; Stephen M. Vozzella, 45; Thomas Ryan Conrad, 34; Michael R. Deslauries II, 51; Jason Adam Walker, 51; Tricia C. Asselin, 53; William A. Young, 44; Aaron Young, 14; Robert E. Violette, 76; Lucille M. Violette, 73; William Frank Brackett, 48; Keith D. Macneir, 64.

Biden questions ‘who the hell needs’ high capacity assault weapons in wake of Maine shootings

President Joe Biden on Friday night harshly criticized the use of high capacity assault weapons in his first public remarks on gun violence following this week’s shooting in Maine that left at least 18 people dead.

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., Biden asked: “Who the hell needs an assault weapon that can hold, in some cases, up to 100 rounds?”

Without referring to the Lewiston shootings directly, Biden said it was “outrageous what’s happening.”

Read the full story here.

Shooter’s body found near former workplace, law enforcement sources say

Police officers stand in the area where the body of shooting suspect Robert Card was found 8 miles from Lewiston, Maine, on Friday.Angela Weiss / AFP – Getty Images

The shooter’s body was found near a former place of employment, three law enforcement sources say.

Card worked at a recycling plant, according to two sources. A former executive at Maine Recycling, who recently stepped down after 46 years, said he knew Card by his face.

The executive, Leo Madden, said Card had worked at the facility, but he couldn’t say whether he’d been fired recently or left on his own.

“I did know the employee. But we had 75 or 90 employees at that time,” he said. “I knew him facially.”

Officials, speaking at a news conference tonight, did not publicly release the exact location where Card was found dead, but said his body was near the Androscoggin River in Lisbon Falls.

Maine Recycling Corporation is located in Lisbon Falls, according to its website.

Families of victims, shooter were informed of Card’s death before announcement

Family members of the people Robert Card fatally shot, as well as Card’s family were informed that his body had been found before Friday night’s public announcement, Maine’s public safety commissioner said.

“We wanted talk to the victims’ families. We wanted to say, ‘this is coming,’” Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said. “It’s important that they heard that information as close to first as anybody else.”

They also called Card’s family, he said.

“They lost a loved one in this scenario. And there were many of that family that was very cooperative with us throughout,” Sauschuck said. “So, they deserved that phone call.”

‘He is dead,’ Maine governor announces

The body of Robert Card, the gunman accused of killing 18 people in mass shootings at two businesses in Lewiston, was found Friday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills said.

Card, 40, was found around 7:45 p.m. near the Androscoggin River in Lisbon Falls, officials said. It’s unclear when he died.

He had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Maine Department of Public Safety Mike Sauschuck said.

“He is dead,” Mills said at a news conference Friday night. She said she called President Joe Biden to inform him.

“Like many people, I’m breathing a sigh of relief tonight, knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone,” Mills said.

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