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Sunday February 25, 2024

Suspect in Maine mass shooting found dead, drawing 'sigh of relief' among residents

Suspect's body was discovered in Lisbon Falls, near a recycling centre, according to US media

By Web Desk
October 28, 2023
Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck speaks to the press during a press conference at Lewiston City Hall in Lewiston, Maine, on October 27, 2023. — AFP
Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck speaks to the press during a press conference at Lewiston City Hall in Lewiston, Maine, on October 27, 2023. — AFP 

Following a two-day manhunt that involved the deployment of hundreds of law enforcement officers, the suspect in the bloodiest mass shooting in the US this year in the state of Maine has been discovered dead.

According to Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck, 40-year-old Army reservist Robert Card died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his body was discovered at 7:45pm (2345 GMT).

Card is thought to be the culprit behind the Wednesday night attack in this hard-scrabble community in the northeastern state of Maine, which left 13 people injured and 18 people dead in a bar-restaurant and bowling alley.

According to Sauschuck, he was unable to determine when Card shot himself.

"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 me the perpetrator of the heinous attacks in Lewiston had been found."

She, too, said "Mainers can breathe a collective sigh of relief" that first responders succeeded in efforts "to find this killer."

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

US media said Card's body, found in Lisbon Falls, southeast of Lewiston, was in a wooded area near a recycling centre that was his place of employment before he lost his job there.

The shooting — and Card's fugitive status — had brought dread to southern Maine over the past two days.

Earlier Friday, authorities said they were chasing down more than 530 tips and leads on Card's possible whereabouts.

Card is an army reservist, but has not been deployed in any combat zone. US media reported that he had recently been sent for psychiatric treatment after he said he was hearing voices.

This latest shooting is one of the deadliest in the United States since 2017, when a gunman opened fire on a crowded music festival in Las Vegas, killing 60 people.

Earlier Friday, law enforcement agents deployed along the Androscoggin River in nearby Lisbon, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Lewiston, and divers used sonar to look for evidence or a body.

Card's white SUV was found nearby, Maine public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.

Hours before the break in the case, Sauschuck announced the lifting of a lockdown in the area around Lewiston that had shuttered schools and businesses.