The suspect in the Lewiston, Maine, mass shooting is an Army reservist with weapons training who has received multiple medals for his service since 2002, a government official confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Robert Card, who police have named as the suspect in the Wednesday mass shooting that killed 18 and wounded 13, is a sergeant first class in the Army who serves as a petroleum supply specialist with the Army Reserve, an Army official told the DCNF. Card has served in the Army since December 2002 but has had no combat deployments during that time. (RELATED: CNN Interviews Local Maine Man Who Says In ‘Situations Like This, I Wish I Had A Firearm’)
Card received several awards for his service, including the Army Achievement Medal, two Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, a Humanitarian Service Medal, a National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, according to the Army official. The Army declined to comment on if Card has struggled with mental health in the past.
Card’s family said that he had been fitted with new, high-powered hearing aids over the summer and developed a “manic belief” that the aids were picking up voices that were saying “horrible” things about him, according to NBC. Katie Card, the suspect’s sister-in-law, said she and her husband had contacted the Army and the police with their concerns about Card’s mental health several weeks ago but didn’t know what actions had been taken by the agencies.
“He was picking up voices that he had never heard,” Katie Card told NBC News. “His mind was twisting them around. He was humiliated by the things that he thought were being said.”
Card was temporarily committed to a hospital on July 16 after leaders of his Army unit reported that he was acting erratically, two law enforcement officers told NBC. The unit contacted law enforcement, who transported Card to the Keller Army Community Hospital for a mental health evaluation,
Card’s military unit commander also sent the suspect to a psychiatric care facility over the summer as well after Card reported that he was hearing voices and threatened the military base, NBC reported. Card was released after receiving two weeks of in-patient psychiatric care at an unnamed facility.
Two former service members who served with Card at different times said that Card is a “nice guy” and “a rational, understanding person,” CNN reported. Clifford Steeves, one of the service members who said he had previously served with Card, said that Card was one of the best shooters in their unit and described him as an “outdoors type of guy.”
“None of this seems real, but unfortunately it is,” Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley that was the location of the first mass shooting attack, wrote on Facebook on Thursday. “We are devastated for our community and our staff. We lost some amazing and whole hearted people from our bowling family and community last night. There are no words to fix this or make it better. We are praying for everyone who has been affected by this horrific tragedy. We love you all and hold you close in our hearts.”
“My heart is crushed. I am at a loss for words,” Schemengees Bar and Grille, the location of the second mass shooting attack, wrote on its Facebook page. “In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason. We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this. Sending out prayers to everyone.”
Law enforcement officials emphasized at a press conference on Thursday that this is an ongoing homicide investigation in its early stages and declined to comment on if there might have been a motive in this attack. Police said that they had found a suicide note from Card to his teenaged son at his home in Bowdoin, Maine, on Thursday afternoon, but the note does not contain any information about his motive, ABC reported.
Investigators have now recovered a gun from Card’s vehicle that was found abandoned on Wednesday evening, multiple law enforcement officers told ABC News. Authorities are testing the gun to see if Card used the weapon during the mass shootings.
The Coast Guard has now launched an airplane and a boat crew to aid the ongoing manhunt for Card, according to NBC. Officials declined to comment on whether they suspect if Card used a boat to escape.
The Lewiston Police Department and the Maine State Police did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated with the latest developments.
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