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Maine mass shooting suspect's body found by law enforcement

Eighteen bouquets line the front of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Saturday— one for each victim of Wednesday's mass shooting.
Susan Sharon
Maine Public
Eighteen bouquets line the front of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Saturday— one for each victim of Wednesday's mass shooting.

Maine State Police say that the suspect in a series of mass shootings in Lewiston was found dead Friday evening in a trailer in an overflow center parking lot of the Maine Recycling Corp. in Lisbon.

According to Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck, 40-year-old Robert Card’s body was found at around 7:45 p.m. Friday, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sauschuck told reporters at a 10:30 a.m. press conference Saturday morning that law enforcement teams had twice searched the recycling company's property earlier in the manhunt. But, he said, officers were not initially aware that the company had more trailers parked nearby.

"So the owner was very diligent to say, well did you clear those trailers? Well, what trailers are you talking about? So then the follow up is with the tactical kill team commanders to say, 'OK, tell me exactly where you were at,'" he said.

It was in one of those overflow trailers that officers discovered Card's body along with two weapons. Sauschuck said Saturday it was not clear how long Card had been dead.

Sauschuck also confirmed that police retrieved a rifle in the abandoned car found in Lisbon that had been linked to Card. He could not identify the make or model of the weapon, but an ATF official at the press conference confirmed that Card had purchased multiple weapons recently and over several years, and that they had all been purchased lawfully.

Sauschuck also said he has no knowledge that Card has never been forcibly committed to receive mental health treatment. A widely circulated police bulletin indicated that Card had been admitted to a mental health facility for two weeks this summer. A New York National Guard spokesperson told NPR that Card, an Army Reservist, behaved "erratically" during a training at West Point.

The owner of Maine Recycling Corp. issued a press statement Saturday morning confirming that Card had worked at the Lisbon facility for about a year and had left voluntarily, stressing he had not been fired, as some have reported.

Hundreds of officers had been searching for Card for nearly two days, with about 40 people looking on Friday near the area where Card's vehicle was found, close to a boat launch along the Androscoggin River in Lisbon.

A shelter-in-place order for Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin was lifted late on Friday. Hunting restrictions had been put in place for Lewiston, Lisbon, Bowdoin and Monmouth beginning midnight on Saturday, but Sauschuck said that those would no longer be imposed.

Card, a Bowdoin resident, is the suspect in a series of shootings at Schemengees Bar and Grille and the bowling alley Just-In-Time Recreation that left 18 people dead and 13 others injured. The victims range in age from 14 to 76.

"Like many Maine people, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone else," said Gov. Janet Mills, who joined Sauschuck at the lectern on Friday night. "I know there are many people who share that sentiment. I also know that his death may not bring solace to the victims of this tragedy."

Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre also thanked law enforcement officers from Lewiston and its surrounding communities, who he said had worked "tirelessly" since Wednesday.

"This is vitally important to all of us that this conclusion came to light tonight," St. Pierre said. "We're going to grieve for the families that lost loved ones here. We're going to continue to work. We're going to persevere. And we've become better people for it, in terms of working together as teams. We've learned a lot from some mistakes. We've won a lot of accomplishments this evening."

St. Pierre said there is still work to be done.

"We're gonna grieve for the families that lost loved ones here. We're gonna to continue to work. We're gonna persevere and we've become better people for it," he said.

Lewiston residents are expressing relief that the search for the Card is over. City councilor Linda Scott said after two days of shelter-in-place orders, many community members are anxious to come together.

"And our whole city is lighting up right now. There's candles. There's Christmas lights. There's porch lights. The city of Lewiston is lighting up for the city of Lewiston. We are one community. We care very deeply about each other. And I'm just relieved that this part is over," she said.

Mayor Carl Sheline said residents can now begin to move forward.

"What happened this past Wednesday night was incredibly tragic. And certainly with the shelter in place and the suspect's whereabouts unknown, finding him brings some sense of closure. And now we can begin the process of mourning together and healing our community," he said.

And that healing will start with a vigil planned for Sunday night at the Franco Center in Lewiston. And a Family Assistance Center at the Lewiston Armory is offering support services to victims and their families. A separate site at the Lewiston Ramada Inn is providing mental health assistance to the general public.

This story was originally published Oct. 27, 2023 at 9:25 PM EDT.

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