LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Authorities say a U.S. Army reservist fatally shot 18 people at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night. A massive search for 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin had been launched before he was found dead Friday.
The shooting in the state’s second-largest city is the 36th mass killing in the United States this year, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. The database includes every mass killing since 2006 from all weapons in which four or more people, excluding the offender, were killed within a 24-hour time frame.
Here is what we know about the suspect and his death, where the shooting happened and the aftermath:
Police identified the suspect in the deadly attack as 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin, Maine. Gov. Janet Mills said at a Friday night news conference that Card was found dead in Lisbon Falls. Card was found at 7:45 p.m. Friday near the Androscoggin River of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police found Card’s body at a recycling facility where he recently worked, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Two law enforcement officials previously told the AP 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 did not provide any specific motive for the shooting.
Card’s cellphone also was 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.
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, officials said.
The New York Army National Guard said the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment, became concerned about Card’s behavior while the unit was training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
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 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. A number of parents and children were at Just-In-Time as part of a children’s bowling league.
The bowling alley is on the outskirts of downtown and offers traditional tenpin bowling and candlepin, a variant found in New England.
Lewiston is the second-largest city in Maine with a population of 37,000.
Maine has a longstanding culture of gun ownership tied to traditions of hunting and sport shooting. The state doesn’t require permits to carry guns.
Maine’s public safety commissioner named all 18 victims at a news conference Friday and said 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.
The death toll from Wednesday’s shooting was staggering for a state that in 2022 had 29 homicides the entire year. The attack was the worst mass killing in state history.
Authorities lifted a shelter-in-place order Friday evening, nearly 48 hours after the shootings.
Police and other authorities launched a massive search for Card on land and water before his body was found.
Investigators received more than 500 tips from the public. The Canada Border Services Agency issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada-U.S. border, warning them to be on the lookout for Card.
Maine’s largest city, Portland, closed 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.
President Biden has ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Monday. Biden spoke by phone twice to Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Friday evening, the White House.
In a statement following the announcement of Card’s death, Biden said the after of the shooting “has been a tragic two days – not just for Lewiston, Maine, but for our entire country.”
“Tonight we’re grateful that Lewiston and surrounding communities are safe after spending excruciating days hiding in their homes,” said Biden, who also praised law enforcement officers who “worked around the clock to find this suspect and prevent the loss of more innocent life — all while risking their own. They are the best of us.”