The search for a mass killer in Maine continued Thursday morning with Lewiston and two other local communities still under lockdown hours after deadly shootings at two local businesses.
Many details on what happened, including the number killed, remained unclear after the shooting at a bowling alley and a restaurant Wednesday evening. Authorities were expected to share more information at a 10:30 a.m. news conference at Lewiston City Hall.
Law enforcement sources told NBC News that 18 people are dead, four others were critically injured and at least 60 others were hurt, some while fleeing the scene.
No suspect has yet been named, but a person of interest, considered armed and dangerous, was identified. Robert Card, a 40-year-old from Bowdoin with a military background, was being sought for questioning in the case, part of a massive dragnet set up by local, state and federal law enforcement responding to one of Maine’s most brazen criminal acts in years.
A vehicle of interest was found in Lisbon Wednesday night, and, like in nearby Lewiston, town offices there were closed Thursday as officials issued a shelter-in-place order there as well. Residents of Lisbon were still being told to continue sheltering in place on Thursday morning, with a specific emphasis on those between Mill Sreet in Lisbon Center and Main Street in Lisbon Falls. Many businesses in that area will also be closed. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office had yet to retract its advice that all businesses in the area lock down or close.
Several roads are also closed in Lewiston on Thursday as the manhunt continues, including Mollison Way and River Road from Locust Street to South Avenue. Residents will be permitted onto the closed section of River Road.
Maine State Police announced shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday that the shelter in place and school closings had been expanded to the town of Bowdoin, where Card is from. People are being told to stay inside their homes while investigators continue their search.
Bates College, which is located in Lewiston, remains on lockdown. The school said Thursday morning that no students or employees were killed in the shootings.
Bowdoin College in nearby Brunswick also canceled in-person classes Thurday due to the ongoing search for the Lewiston shooter. The campus remains in “lockout” mode until further notice.
All Hannaford Supermarkets stores in Maine are closed until at least 10 a.m. on Thursday, the company announced on Facebook. And New Balance, which has three factories in Maine, postponed the groundbreaking on its new facility in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in the wake of the tragedy.
Emergency officials in neighboring New Hampshire said they are also monitoring the shootings and sharing information with local, state and federal partners.
“We stand with our friends and partners in Maine during this time,” Commissioner Robert Quinn of the New Hampshire Department of Safety said. “We are asking all New Hampshire residents to stay vigilant. If you see something suspicious, report it to local authorities or 911.”
“New Hampshire state officials have been in touch with our counterparts in Maine to offer and provide any medical and safety resources needed as they manage this horrific situation,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu added. “Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Maine.”
Officials in Massachusetts and Connecticut have said they are also on alert and keeping tabs on the manhunt.
“No specific threats have been received, but in the interest of public safety, we are closely monitoring the situation and remain in close communication with our regional law enforcement partners,” the Connecticut State Police said in a statement Thursday morning.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she has been in touch with Maine Gov. Janet Mills and has offered her state’s support “as Maine responds to this heartbreaking tragedy.”
The search for a mass killer in Maine continued Thursday morning with Lewiston still under lockdown hours after deadly shootings at two local businesses.
The streets near the two shooting locations, the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar and Grille restaurant, were set to remain closed Thursday.
Card, the person of interest being sought by police, is a firearms instructor trained by the military who was recently committed to a mental health facility, according to a state police bulletin, reviewed by The Associated Press and NBC News, that was being circulated to law enforcement officials on Wednesday night.
In a news conference on Wednesday night, Mike Sauschuck, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said hundreds of officers are involved in the search. He said additional information will be released throughout the night as it becomes available.
He said a “reunification center” has been set up at nearby Auburn Middle School for anyone looking to reunite with family members who are unaccounted for.
“This is a very fluid situation,” Sauschuck said, declining to give a total number of people dead or injured. “We are looking for this person of interest right now.”
Jason Levesque, mayor of Auburn, Maine, spoke after Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting in neighboring Lewiston.
Hospitals in the area, which is north of Portland and southwest of Augusta, had activated critical care procedures to deal with the influx of casualties.
Lewiston Police said in a Facebook post that they were dealing with an active shooter incident at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles away.
One bowler, who identified himself only as Brandon, said he heard about 10 shots, thinking the first was a balloon popping.
“I had my back turned to the door. And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon — he was holding a weapon — I just booked it,” he told The Associated Press.
Brandon said he scrambled down the length of the alley, sliding into the pin area and climbing up to hide in the machinery. He was among a busload of survivors who were driven to a middle school in the neighboring city of Auburn to be reunited with family and friends.
“I was putting on my bowling shoes when when it started. I’ve been barefoot for five hours,” he said.
Ed Davis, who led the Boston Police Department during the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt, draws on that experience in discussing the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine.
After the shooting, police, many armed with rifles, took up positions while the city descended into eerie quiet — punctuated by occasional sirens — as people hunkered down at home.
Gov. Mills released a statement echoing instructions for people to shelter. She said she had been briefed on the situation and will remain in close contact with public safety officials.
President Joe Biden spoke by phone to Mills and the state’s Senate and House members, offering “full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack,” a White House statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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