Authorities are expected to give an update at around 10 a.m. about the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine after the suspect was found dead on Friday night.
Hearing that the shooter was found dead is a relief to many, but it doesn’t necessarily bring solace or closure for the families who have lost their loved ones
City officials are telling people now is the time to come together and grieve.
The end of the manhunt doesn’t answer questions about a motive, but it does mean that the people of Maine can now go about their days without looking over their shoulder.
“Everyone’s been on pins and needles I know everyone I know when they found out this is Maine a lot of people have guns they got their guns locked their doors and prayed for the best.” said Lewiston city councilor Robert McCarthy.
Several communities spent about 48 hours under a shelter-in-place order, leaving the streets empty, businesses closed and schools shuttered. People were forced to face the fear of an active shooter on the loose in the solitude of their own homes.
Now that the suspect is no longer a threat, the community can come together and process the traumatic shootings that took 18 lives and injured more than a dozen others.
Vigils are being planned for this weekend to honor the lives lost.
“Now’s the time and our whole city is lighting up. Right now, there’s candles, there’s Christmas lights, there’s porch lights. I’m sorry– the city of Lewiston is lighting up for the city of Lewiston. We are one community, and we care very deeply about each other. I’m just relieved that this part is over.” added Lewiston City Councilor Linda Scott.
So while there is some sense of relief in Lewiston, families still have a lot of unanswered questions, including around what the man wrote in the note he left behind before taking 18 lives, and then his own.
The man accused of opening fire at two Lewiston businesses, killing 18 and injuring 13, was found dead in Lisbon Friday.
President Joe Biden issued a statement on the “tragic two days” for Maine and the nation, crediting the hard-working law enforcement officers for their work, thanking Mills for her leadership and remembering the “at least eighteen souls brutally slain.”
“Tonight we’re grateful that Lewiston and surrounding communities are safe after spending excruciating days hiding in their homes,” Biden said in a statement.
He also called on congressional Republicans to take action — most Democrats support adding some restrictions on guns, such as the assault-style rifle used in the Lewiston shooting — and said, “Americans should not have to live like this.”
Many other politicians shared statements as news of the gunman’s death came in.
“Tonight, Mainers can breathe a collective sigh of relief thanks to the brave first responders who worked night and day to find this killer,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. She thanked Mills “for her steadfast leadership,” and the health care workers, city officials and the people of Maine “who came together in the wake of this attack.”
“To the families who lost loved ones and to those injured by this attack, I know that no words can diminish the shock, pain, and justifiable anger you feel. It is my hope that you will find solace and strength in knowing that you are in the hearts of people throughout Maine and across the nation.”
The state’s other senator, independent Angus King, said in a post on X that he joined his neighbors and friends “in a communal sense of relief. We are grateful to law enforcement and first responders, for fifty hours of nonstop dedication and determination that brought us this relief. It will take a long, long time to process this pain, but Maine people have grit, resolve and heart and we will come together through this difficult grieving period and hope for brighter, calmer days.”
Democratic Congressman Jared Golden, who made national headlines this week when he reversed course and said he is now in favor of an assault weapons ban in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting, said in a statement on X that “the people of Lewiston and the surrounding communities can feel safe that this threat has ended.”
“I know that we will all continue to pray for and care for the families who have lost loved ones, for the wounded, and for the survivors who experienced this terrible shooting. This is a time for mourning the loss of life and to honor the memory of each one of these members of our greater community.”
Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree also posted on X, thanking the many law enforcement personnel, medical professionals, local leaders, journalists and residents “for their tireless work this week and in the days to come.”
“We will hold the Mainers lost forever in our hearts as we begin to try to heal and, importantly, work to put an end to the uniquely American gun violence epidemic,” she added. “Please, stay safe and stay #MaineStrong.”
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