LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Maine’s governor says the suspect wanted for killing 18 people at a bowling alley and bar has been found dead in Lisbon, Maine.
His death was confirmed at the news conference Friday night by Maine’s Gov. Janet Mills.
Commissioner of Maine Department of Public Safety says Card was found at 7:45 p.m. near the Androscoggin River. He declined to provide a specific address.
Robert Card, who was wanted in connection with the shootings at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley in Lewiston, is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a law enforcement official tells The Associated Press.
The official was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity. A 10 p.m. news conference was scheduled by police.
Card, 40, of Bowdoin, Maine, was a U.S. Army reservist who underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after he began acting erratically during training, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
Card had been sought since the Wednesday night shootings, and murder warrants were issued against him.
A bulletin sent to police across the country shortly after the attack said Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer after “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base.
A U.S. official said Card was training with the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment in West Point, New York, when commanders became concerned about him.
State police took Card to the Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point for evaluation, according to the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the information and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity
State Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck made the announcement Friday afternoon at a news conference in which he named all 18 victims of the mass shooting. All of the victims’ families have been notified, officials said.
Sauschuck read the names aloud. Photos of those slain were posted on a board behind him. The reading was followed by a moment of silence.
The announcements came as authorities scoured the woods and hundreds of acres of family-owned property, sent dive teams with sonar to the bottom of a river and scrutinized a possible suicide note Friday in the second day of their intensive search for an Army reservist accused of fatally shooting 18 people and wounding 13 at a bowling alley and a bar in Maine.
Nearly two days after the shooting, law enforcement officials gave no indication that they have any leads on Robert Card’s whereabouts. During a lengthy news conference absent of any major developments, Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck would only say that authorities are leaving all their options open.
“We’re going to be all over the place,” Sauschuck said. “That’s not saying that we know that the individual is in this house, you know, in that house or they’re in that swath of land, this acreage.”
Previously, police had said that Card had left his car at a boat ramp in the town of Lisbon shortly after the shootings Wednesday evening. A gun was found in the car and federal agents were testing it to determine if it was used in the shooting, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity. Authorities have not publicly said how many guns were used in Wednesday’s shootings or how they were obtained.
Sauschuck said Friday that authorities were going to conduct extensive searches of the nearby Androscoggin River by air and boat, and that a utility was using its dams to lower the river in the area, but he made it clear that would not be their only area of focus.
Authorities found an apparent suicide note at a home associated with Card on Thursday that was addressed to his son, the law enforcement officials said. They said it didn’t provide any specific motive for the shooting. Authorities also recovered Card’s cellphone in the home, making a search more complicated because authorities routinely use phones to track suspects, the officials said.
The Cards have lived in Bowdoin for generations, neighbors said, and various members of the family own hundreds of acres in the area. The family owned the local sawmill and years ago donated the land for a local church.
“This is his stomping ground,” Richard Goddard, who lives on the road where a search took place on Thursday, said of the suspect. “He knows every ledge to hide behind, every thicket.”
Authorities say Card, 40, who has firearms training, opened fire with at least one rifle at a bar and a bowling alley Wednesday in Lewiston, Maine’s second-largest city about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Bowdoin.
Family members of Card told federal investigators that he had recently discussed hearing voices and became more focused on the bowling alley and bar, according to the law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. When he was hospitalized in July in New York, Card had told military officials he had been hearing voices and said he wanted to harm other soldiers, the officials said.
A neighbor, Dave Letarte, said Card’s family let them deer hunt on their property and were kind, although Letarte said he noticed Card appeared to have mental problems for a while.
“People have problems, but you don’t expect them to go off the deep end like that,” Letarte said. “When we saw it on the news last night, I was shocked.”
A telephone number listed for Card in public records was not in service. A woman who answered a phone number for one of Card’s relatives on Thursday afternoon said the family was helping the FBI. She didn’t give her name or additional details.
Wednesday’s shootings left 18 people dead and 13 wounded, three of whom were hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. Card will be charged with 18 counts of murder once all the victims are identified, authorities said.
All 18 of the people who died in a mass shooting in Maine have been identified, according to the state medical examiner
The 16 males and two females killed Wednesday night ranged in age from 14 to 76, the medical examiner said Friday.
According to Maine State Police, seven people died at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and eight more died at Schemengees Bar and Grille. Three others died after being taken to hospitals.
Authorities have not released the victims’ names, but their family members have been confirming their deaths.
The victims of the shootings include Bob Violette, 76, a retiree who was coaching a youth bowling league and was described as devoted, approachable and kind. Auburn City Councilor Leroy Walker told news outlets that his son, Joe, a manager at the bar and grill, died going after the shooter with a butcher knife. Peyton Brewer-Ross was a dedicated pipefitter at Bath Iron Works whose death leaves a gaping void in the lives of his partner, young daughter and friends, members of his union said.
The manager of the youth bowling league vowed that the league would survive despite the devastating grief members were feeling.
Police asked residents to continue to stay home in Lewiston and surrounding communities Friday. Schools, public buildings and many businesses remained closed. Bates College in Lewiston canceled classes Friday and postponed the inauguration of the school’s first Black president.
In nearby Sabattus, cashiers at a gas station told their customers to “have a good day and go home.”
Authorities acknowledged the difficulty of having residents stay home a second day, but Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre asked for patience and promised that they were constantly evaluating the request.
The attacks stunned a state of only 1.3 million people that has one of the country’s lowest homicide rates: 29 killings in all of 2022.
Police were sorting through at least 530 tips since the shootings. Crime scene technicians were still gathering evidence at the bar and bowling alley. Dozens of officers spent Thursday at Card family land. After several hours they left with state police saying it was unclear whether the suspect had ever been at the location.
At Friday’s briefing, Sauschuck refused to say how long it took police to arrive after the shootings were reported or whether investigators have any idea of where Card might be or if he is still alive.
“We want to make sure that we bring this individual into custody but we got to do it right,” Sauschuck said.
In many past U.S. mass shootings, the suspect was found — whether dead or alive — within minutes.
The shootings mark the 36th mass killing in the United States this year, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.
Ramer reported from Concord, New Hampshire, Whittle from Portland, Maine, and Smith from Bowdoin, Maine. Associated Press journalists Jake Bleiberg in Portland; Robert Bukaty and Robert Bumsted in Lewiston; Michael Balsamo in New York; Darlene Superville and Lolita Baldor in Washington, D.C.; Michael Casey in Boston; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; and Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.