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Hunt for Maine mass shooting suspect continues

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) – Police are continuing their search for 40-year-old US Army reservist Robert Card of Bowdoin, Maine, in the attack in Lewiston that left 18 people dead and 13 people injured.

Card, still at large, was considered armed and dangerous, police said. Two days after the shooting, police have given no indication that they have any leads into Card’s whereabouts.

Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that investigators found a note at a home associated with Card on Thursday that was addressed to his son. The officials described it as a suicide note but said it didn’t provide any specific motive for the shooting. Card’s cellphone was also found in the home, and a gun was found in the white Subaru that Card abandoned, the officials said. Federal agents were testing the gun to determine if it was used in the shooting and conducting a trace to determine when and where the gun was obtained, the officials said. They were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Card’s relatives told federal investigators that he recently discussed hearing voices and became more focused on the bowling alley and bar, officials said.

Officials said Card was an Army reservist who had been taken by police for an evaluation after military officials became concerned that he was acting erratically in mid-July.

The New York Army National Guard said the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment became concerned about Card’s behaviour while the unit was training at the US Military Academy at West Point in New York. Card was transported by state police to Keller Army Community Hospital at the US Military Academy for medical evaluation.

Lewiston Police said the shooting took place on Wednesday evening at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley about 6.4 kilometres away. A number of parents and children were at Just-In-Time as part of a children’s bowling league.

The bowling alley is about 3.2 kilometres north of the Bates College campus, on the outskirts of downtown, and offers traditional tenpin bowling and candlepin, a variant found in New England.

Maine’s public safety commissioner named all 18 victims at a news conference Friday and said all of their families have been notified.

Photos of the victims were posted on a board behind Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck as he read the names. A moment of silence followed.

The deceased ranged in age from 14 to 76. A teen bowler, a shipbuilder and a sign language interpreter were among the dead.

Authorities lifted a shelter-in-place order Friday evening, nearly 48 hours after the shootings.

Authorities launched a massive search for Card on land and water. The Coast Guard sent out a patrol boat Thursday morning along the Kennebec River but after hours of searching, they found nothing out of the ordinary, according to Chief Petty Officer Ryan Smith. Divers joined the search at the Androscoggin River, near where Card’s car was found, on Friday.

Investigators said they have received more than 500 tips from the public, but Sauschuck said no law enforcement official has seen Card since the shootings.

The Canada Border Services Agency issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada-US border, warning them to be on the lookout for Card.

Maine’s largest city, Portland, closed its public buildings. Some Portland restaurants and bars closed their doors, bringing an unusual early evening quiet to the typically bustling downtown of the state’s largest city.

Schools in Lewiston and Portland and elsewhere in the region remain closed Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, law enforcement officers were at a home owned by Card’s relatives in Bowdoin, Maine, with search warrants, calling for anyone there, including Card, to surrender, Maine State Police spokesperson Shannon Moss said. But hours later, after repeated announcements and a search, authorities moved off. It was still unclear whether Card had ever been at the location, state police said.

President Biden has ordered all US flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Monday.

The streets remain quiet in this view looking towards Lewiston, Maine, from the neighboring city of Auburn, as a lockdown remains in effect following this week’s deadly mass shootings, Friday. PHOTO: AP