A gunman’s rampage unfolded in the city of Lewiston, Maine, yesterday (26) evening, leaving at least 16 people dead and dozens more injured. The city was put on lockdown as authorities launched a massive manhunt for the suspect responsible for the deadly shootings.
Residents like Billie Jayne Cooke, who is running for the city council, recounted the harrowing experience of the evening. She described leaving a public event when news of the attack first reached her. The city’s streets were filled with sirens and helicopters as law enforcement agencies from various jurisdictions rushed to the scene.
“I was talking to him on my car phone, and the entire time it was just nothing but sirens and helicopters,” said Cooke, her voice filled with distress. “It’s crazy. I can’t process this because it just seems so unimaginable.”
Riley Dumont, who was at Lewiston’s Just-In-Time bowling alley with her family during the shootings, shared her terrifying experience. She mentioned that her 11-year-old daughter was participating in a children’s bowling league when they heard gunshots. Her father, a retired police officer, shielded the family in a corner while they tried to protect each other.
Shanna Cox, the president of the Lewiston Auburn Chamber of Commerce, described the city’s state of lockdown. “Our shades are down, our doors are locked, our windows are locked,” she said. “We’ve got the majority of interior lights off, and we’re ensuring that no one’s leaving the home.”
The shootings occurred at two locations, Schemengees restaurant and Sparetime Recreation bowling alley, approximately four miles apart. The number of casualties has not been officially confirmed, but reports from law enforcement sources suggest at least 16 people lost their lives, with over 50 individuals injured.
The alleged shooter, identified as Robert Card, a 40-year-old firearms instructor, was labeled “armed and dangerous” by authorities. Law enforcement officials released images of Card, who was trained by the US military and had a history of time spent in a mental health center in the summer of 2023. He was known to have made threats of committing a shooting at a military base.
The manhunt for Robert Card extends beyond Lewiston, with nearby towns including Lisbon, Bowdoin, and Auburn also under the “shelter in place” order. Lewiston Public Schools will remain closed on Thursday as the city remains in a state of shock and fear.
State Governor Janet Mills has issued a stern warning to the public not to approach the suspect, emphasizing the urgency of the ongoing manhunt. President Biden has reached out to state officials and members of Congress to express his concern and offer federal support.
The city of Lewiston, with its population of approximately 38,000, is reeling from the tragedy, as the community grapples with the aftermath of this unimaginable event.