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Suspect in Maine mass shooting found dead

LEWISTON (AFP) – The suspect in a mass shooting that killed 18 people in Maine, United States (US) has been found dead, the state’s governor said, ending a two-day manhunt that mobilised hundreds of law enforcement agents and set jittery residents of the northeastern state on edge.

Forty-year-old Army reservist Robert Card died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said. Card is believed to be the perpetrator of a rampage that left 18 people dead and 13 others wounded in a bowling alley and a restaurant in this hard-scrabble city.

“I’m breathing a sigh of relief tonight knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone,” Governor Janet Mills told a hastily called news conference.

The sentiment was echoed by US Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who said on X, formerly Twitter, that President Joe Biden called her to tell her the perpetrator of the heinous attacks in Lewiston had been found.

Biden said the mass shooting brought a tragic two days – not just for Lewiston, Maine, but for the entire country.

Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck during a press conference at Lewiston City Hall in Maine, United States. PHOTO: AP

“I will continue to do everything in my power to end this gun violence epidemic. The Lewiston community – and all Americans – deserve nothing less,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

Authorities identified the victims, ranging from a husband and wife in their 70s, to a 14-year old boy killed alongside his father.

The killing spree in a bowling alley and restaurant marked the deadliest mass shooting in the US this year.

Card’s body was found in Lisbon Falls, southeast of Lewiston near the Androscoggin River, authorities said. US media said his body was found near a recycling centre that was Card’s place of employment before he lost his job there.

Roads leading to the site were blocked by police.

Sauschuck said he could not immediately say when Card shot himself.

The shooting – and Card’s fugitive status – had brought dread to southern Maine over the past two days. Authorities had described Card as armed and dangerous.