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Massive manhunt for gunman after 18 killed in United States

LEWISTON (AFP) – Police in the US state of Maine waged a major manhunt yesterday for a gunman who killed 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar in the deadliest mass shooting this year in America.

The rampage in the small northeastern town of Lewiston also left 13 people wounded, three of them in critical condition, with a wide area under lockdown as schools were closed, roadblocks erected and residents ordered to stay indoors.

Governor Janet Mills said the suspect was “considered armed and dangerous, and police advise that Maine people should not approach him under any circumstances”.

Police named the suspect as Robert Card seen in surveillance footage pointing a semi-automatic rifle with an extended clip as he walked into the bowling alley in Lewiston. News outlets broadcast footage of people fleeing in terror from the venue after the shooting started on Wednesday.

One survivor told television reporters that he was 15 feet from the gunman when he opened fire. He thought at first it was a balloon popping.

“And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon and he was holding a weapon, I just booked it down the lane and I slid basically into where the pins are and climbed up into the machine and was on top of the machines for about 10 minutes until the cops got there,” he said.

Card is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserve, according to law enforcement.

US President Joe Biden called Maine’s governor and officials to offer federal support, and ordered flags to be lowered to half-mast at the White House and all government buildings.

Law enforcement officers gather outside a high school in the United States on a manhunt for a gunman. PHOTO: AFP