Shortly after 10am Friday morning, law enforcement officials in Lewiston held a press conference to update the public with the latest information pertaining to Wednesday’s mass shooting in Lewiston.
According to Mike Sauschuck — State Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety — these morning briefings will now become a daily occurrence until the suspect — Robert Card, 40 — is apprehended.
Afternoon briefings may also be held on occasion should additional information become available throughout the day.
Sauschuck did, however, condition this announcement by reminding the public that certain information must be kept confidential in the name of public safety, as well as for the tactical integrity of law enforcement operations.
Anyone with information is encouraged to reach out to law enforcement at (207) 213-9526. Photos, videos, and other materials that may be evidentiary in nature can be submitted to the digital tip line: FBI.GOV/LewistonTips
At the start of today’s conference, Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre took to the podium to reassure Mainers that every effort is being made to capture the suspect and to ask for patience as law enforcement officials continue their investigation.
“The safety of our community remains paramount,” St. Pierre said. “I want to assure all that a tremendous amount of law enforcement manpower, time, and effort is being utilized around the clock — literally around the clock — in every effort to apprehend this suspect, as well as safeguard this community.”
“Again, I will ask the community to be as patient as possible with this process, realizing that there are many many moving parts and coordination of efforts involved between multiple agencies,” St. Pierre continued. “We will attempt to provide as much information possible as this investigation proceeds forward.”
At this point, Sauschuck took over the briefing to provide the public details concerning the current state of the investigation, as well as to answer a handful of questions from the media.
According to Sauschuck, members of the public have submitted more than 530 tips to law enforcement, all of which are being followed up on and investigated.
Friday investigations continued at Just In Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille.
Sauschuck stated that law enforcement officials need to “take [their] time” to “process every square inch” properly, respectfully, and professionally.
Heightened police presence is to be expected in the area.
Officials are also working to help draft affidavits that will be used to obtain a range of digital media, including phones, computers, and surveillance footage.
Extensive detail was also provided as to how law enforcement officials plan to investigate the area surrounding the boat launch in Lisbon where the suspect’s car was located Thursday night.
Divers will be searching the water for “evidence” and “potential bodies,” while other conduct a “line search” along the shore. Sonar technology and air resources will also be utilized to aid in their investigation.
“You’re going to see a lot of activity here, and I’m going to tell you that in advance,” Sauschuck said. “We’ve got nothing to hide in that regard at all.”
Sauschuck then addressed reports circulating online last night that law enforcement had surrounded a property in Bowdoin and were addressing the suspect over a loud speaker system.
According to Sauschuck — as well as a statement put out by the Maine State Police yesterday — such announcements are “standard search warrant procedure” and do not necessarily indicate that the suspect is actually on premises.
“It doesn’t mean that just because we’re making announcements over a PA system that the individual is in there and we have an armed stand off and there are police swarming,” Sauschuck said.
Sauschuck also stated that law enforcement officials are “going to be all over the place” today and will be treating each and every situation as though the suspect is in the property under investigation.
During the question-and-answer portion of the briefing, Sauschuck confirmed reports that a note was found inside the suspect’s residence, but he refused to share any details concerning its contents.
“I’m not prepared to really talk about what that included,” Sauschuck said. “And I think that’s probably, again, a common sense answer because that does involve: Is there a mindset here? Is there a motive? What did that entail?”
Sauschuck then stated that they will “definitely continue to work on that” and “certainly will” release it “when [they] can.”
Another reporter asked Sauschuck if the suspect’s family has been cooperative with law enforcement thus far.
Although Sauschuck stated that they are “seeing a lot of cooperation across the board” — as is evidenced by the 530-plus tips they have received — he declined to speak specifically as to the cooperation or lack thereof from the suspect’s family members.
Reporters also pressed Sauschuck on why Maine’s “yellow flag” laws — which are intended to restrict firearm access for those who are mentally ill or pose a potential threat to themselves or others — were not triggered in this case.
“The reality for today,” Sauschuck replied, “is I’m not going to talk specifically about who knew what and when.”
“We’re still actively involved in a very dynamic situation here, and we’re focused on an individual that currently has eight warrants out for murder,” Sauschuck said. “We’re trying to figure that part out, trying to bring him in to justice, as well as investigate his crimes.”
When asked about any potential “warnings or issues” that could have triggered the processes established by the state’s “yellow flag” laws, Sauschuck stated that he “cannot confirm” anything at this time.
One member of the media asked Sauschuck if there were concerns that the “trail is growing cold” as the investigation approaches the 48-hour mark.
“Every minute that this goes on, we’re more and more concerned,” Sauschuck said. “That’s why we’re working 24/7 to bring this individual to justice and to try to bring some closure and overall safety to our communities.”
“This is a privilege — this is an honor — we have, to do something about these tragedies when they occur,” Sauschuck continued. “We’re in a position to do something to help, and we will.”
“There’s no question in my mind that we will bring this individual into custody one way or another,” Sauschuck concluded.
Shelter in place orders are still in effect today for Androscoggin County and northern Sagadahoc County.
Many schools, colleges, businesses, and municipal facilities remain closed as the manhunt continues for the primary suspect in Wednesday night’s mass shooting.