Maine Gov. Janet Mills confirmed Thursday that 18 people were killed and 13 injured in Wednesday night’s mass shooting in Lewiston. Eight of the eighteen victims have been identified.
At this time, the person of interest — Robert R. Card II, 40, of Bowdoin — still remains at large.
Law enforcement officials were joined by Gov. Mills at 10:45am this morning to update the public as to what is currently known about last night’s tragedy.
Gov. Mills opened the press conference by offering her condolences for the victims and describing her communications thus far with officials from the federal government, as well as with the members of Maine’s congressional delegation.
It was also Mills who was responsible for delivering the news of the confirmed death and injury tolls.
Mills then shared that all flags nationwide will be kept at half staff for the next five days in honor of the victims.
Gov. Mills:— The Maine Wire (@TheMaineWire) October 26, 2023
"This attack strikes at the very heart of who we are and the values we hold dear for this precious place we call home" pic.twitter.com/yunui0XWe7
All law enforcement personnel that spoke this morning emphasized that this is still an ongoing investigation, so information can only be shared with the public as it becomes confirmed.
Mike Sauschuck — State Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety — set the stage for the remainder of the press conference, explaining that although law enforcement understands the community’s need for support right now, bringing Card into custody is their top priority right now.
“Our reality for today is that this suspect is still at large,” Sauschuck said. “We have an incredibly strong, laser-like focus on bringing this suspect into custody.”
Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre briefly offered his “deepest sympathies” for the victims and their families.
St. Pierre also asked members of the public to be “mindful of their own personal safety and also that they be patient with the process as much as possible.”
“This is an all hands on deck approach,” St. Pierre said. “We have a great deal of collaboration and resources that have been made available to us.”
Maine State Police Colonel William Ross emphasized that this is still the “early stages of a homicide investigation,” so they “want to be careful that [they’re] doing things correctly.”
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Ross said.
Ross then provided the press with a detailed timeline of the events that unfolded last night in Lewiston.
According to Ross, a 911 call came in at 6:56pm from Just In Time — formerly known as Sparetime — in Lewiston reporting an active shooter.
After this, multiple 911 calls were received from Schemengees Bar & Grille also alerting police to an active shooter.
Law enforcement from Lewiston and the surrounding areas then quickly came together to make sense of the unfolding situation and identify a person of interest.
The investigation into the person responsible led to the identification of a vehicle located at the Lisbon Falls boat launch — a white Subaru hatchback — which was later determined to be owned by Card.
Ross then shared that eight of the victims have been identified, while the identities of the remaining ten are unknown as of yet.
Consequently, there is an active arrest warrant for Card on eight counts of murder, but that is expected to eventually rise to eighteen counts as additional victims are identified.
Seven of the victims were killed at Just In Time, and eight were killed at Schemengees.
Of the seven people killed at Just In Time, there was one female and seven males.
All those killed at Schemengees were men — one was found outside the restaurant, and the remaining seven were found inside.
Three other individuals died after being transported to the hospital.
Gun shot wounds are the apparent cause of death for all 18 victims.
“I can’t stress this enough. This is an ongoing investigation in the early stages,” Ross said. “More information will come out in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office as the lead prosecutor. We can’t share all of our information right now, and I’m sure you understand that.”
Jodi Cohen — the FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge — then took to the podium to explain the role that the FBI is currently playing in the investigation.
“We are providing investigative and tactical support, as well as our victim specialists [who] are working with those affected by this tragedy,” Cohen said.
Cohen also encouraged members of the public to stay vigilant and to share any information they may have with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
“When we’ve asked for anything, the answer has been yes. Period.” Director Sauscheck
These remarks were then followed by a brief question-and-answer period, but officials did not provide any additional meaningful information.