In a devastating incident that has sent shockwaves across the United States, a significant manhunt is underway for the gunman responsible for a mass shooting in the state of Maine. According to a report from AFP, at least 22 people have lost their lives, with numerous others injured, making this the deadliest such incident in 2023.
The Suspect: Robert Card
The suspect behind this heinous act, identified as Robert Card, was caught on CCTV wielding a semi-automatic weapon with an extended clip as he entered a bowling alley in Lewiston. Law enforcement authorities have classified him as “armed and dangerous.” Notably, Card holds the title of a certified firearms instructor and is a member of the US Army Reserve, as reported by CNN, citing law enforcement sources.
Authorities have released several photos of Card at the bowling alley, where he appeared composed while entering with his raised rifle. They are appealing to the public to provide any information that may help locate him.
Maine’s public safety official, Mike Sauschuck, has informed the media that a large number of police officers are actively engaged in the ongoing investigation to locate Card. In the course of their search, law enforcement officers discovered a “vehicle of interest” in the town of Lisbon, approximately eight miles from Lewiston, but Card was not found in the vehicle.
The Tragic Sequence of Events
The tragedy unfolded when the police and first responders rushed to the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley at around 7:15 pm local time in response to an active shooter. Subsequent reports indicated another shooting at the Schemengees Bar & Grille, as detailed by the Sun Journal local newspaper.
Lockdown and Response
Lewiston, the second most populous city in Maine, was placed under lockdown, with businesses advised to close, and residents instructed to stay in place. In response to the crisis, US President Joe Biden reached out to Maine’s governor, its two senators, and a local congressman, offering federal support during a state dinner honoring Australia’s prime minister.
America’s Ongoing Struggle with Gun Violence
The United States has faced a grim reality in 2023, with over 500 mass shootings recorded, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which defines mass shootings as incidents where four or more people are wounded or killed. Regrettably, the recent attack in Maine stands out as the deadliest mass shooting this year, as reported by the GVA.
The longstanding debate over gun control measures continues to be a contentious issue in the United States. Efforts to strengthen such measures face opposition from Republicans who staunchly support the constitutional right to bear arms. This political impasse persists despite widespread public outrage over the recurring incidents of gun violence.