A gunman has killed at least 22 and left 60 injured in a small town in Maine in what is believed to be the deadliest mass shooting in the US this year.
Army reservist and firearms instructor Robert Card, 40, is currently being hunted as a suspect in the deadly shooting by state and federal police.
Police have warned civilians to stay away from Card, as he is ‘armed and dangerous’ and has a history of mental health problems.
He killed and injured dozens of people when he took an AR-15 rifle with a laser-optic attachment into two locations in Lewiston, a small city of around 36,000, at around 7pm local time last night and shot at customers in both locations.
The two shootings took place at Sparetime Recreation, a restaurant and bowling alley, and Schemengees, a bar and grill.
A gunman has killed at least 22 people and injured 60 in the town of Lewiston, Maine. Police in Lewiston are hunting for the suspect, pictured at the Sparetime recreation center. The first call came in for Sparetime at 7:15pm
The gunman, wearing a brown hoodie, is seen in Lewiston on Wednesday night
Chilling CCTV images show Card, from Bowdoin, Maine, pointing his rifle as he walked into the bowling alley, while dramatic footage shows terrified people running for their lives.
Lewiston city councilor Robert McCarthy said 22 people were dead, with 50-60 injured. Some reportedly had injuries from a stampede.
Maine’s hospitals said they were declaring a mass casualty event.
The death toll, which could yet rise, is the largest from a mass shooting this year.
Survivors have described how they escaped by fleeing down bowling lanes and hiding behind pins as the gunman used an AR-15-style rifle to open fire while children were playing – with teenagers among the injured.
Meghan Hutchinson described the horror when her daughter was grazed by a bullet in the bowling alley as they were running away from the gunman.
‘We were in the back room. Another child came in whose arm had a massive … was bleeding profusely. So we barricaded in there and another parent was in the room with me. She had a phone and she called 911,’ the mother told WMTW.
An unnamed mother asked for prayers for her 22-year-old son, who was hit four times and is on a ventilator. She told WMTV about 20 other people were waiting for updates on their loved ones at the hospital.
Survivor Riley Dumont said her 11-year-old daughter was playing in the children’s bowling league when she heard several gunshots. She told ABC News her father, a retired police officer, rushed the family into a corner.
‘I kind of laid on top of (my daughter), and my mom was kind of on top of me. We had two other kids with us and two other mothers as well,’ Dumont said. At least seven people were killed in the first shooting.
Lisbon authorities have since told residents to keep sheltering as the major hunt for the alleged shooter continues.
The city of Auburn, just across the Androscoggin River, has also warned residents to remain indoors.
‘ALERT: There is an active shooter incident in progress in the City of Lewiston,’ they wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
‘ALL Auburn & Lewiston residents are strongly urged to shelter in place, lock all doors & report suspicious individuals and activities to 9-1-1.
‘Most businesses in the area have closed/are closing.’
Card, from Bowdoin in Maine, had a history of mental health problems, and previously reported hearing voices and had threatened to shoot up his National Guard base in Saco, Maine, according to the Maine Information and Analysis Center – a division of the Maine state police.
He was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks over the summer, and reportedly lost his job recently.
More information about Card and the shooting is expected to be released later today, as Maine’s state police will be holding a news conference at 10:30am local time (3:30pm UK time).
People are seen running from the scene of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine
Crowds scattered after shots rung out on Wednesday evening
The shooting has rocked the state to its core.
Maine has a fairly high level of gun ownership, and relatively lax laws: Roughly half of its households have firearms, according to research cited by Maine public radio last year.
There is no independent background check system, no red flag law to identify those at extreme risk for gun violence, no requirement that convicted domestic abusers turn in their guns and no permit requirements for concealed weapons.
Card, as a certified firearms instructor, would have had no problem in obtaining weapons.
But unlike many states with such a large supply, it sees relatively few fatal shootings each year: 89 percent of gun deaths are suicide, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist and firearms instructor, has been named as the suspect in the murder of 22 people in Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday
Dozens of anxious and distressed residents were hurried inside a reunification center at Auburn Middle School by officers
Police issued a photo of this car which they believe belongs to Card. Sheriffs said at 11:20pm on Wednesday the car was found abandoned in the town of Lisbon, about seven miles away
Police officers surround an armored law enforcement vehicle parked on the parking lot of the Lisbon High School gymnasium
Law enforcement vehicles drive on the parking lot of the Lisbon High School gymnasium
‘There’s no large cities in Maine,’ said Representative Chellie Pingree, a Democrat.
‘So this isn’t like being in Dallas or New York City. It’s a very tight-knit community in spite of the fact that it’s a city, and I’m just sure there’s just an enormous number of grieving families.’
A heavy police presence is outside the Central Maine Medical Center on Thursday morning, with police standing at every entrance with high powered rifles. The hospital is under lock down and no visitors are allowed.
The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other federal agents have joined the search. Detectives said they are looking into cellphone signals, social media and electronic records.
‘The FBI Boston Division continues to coordinate with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Maine and we stand ready to assist with any available resources they need, including evidence response, investigative and tactical support, as well as victim assistance,’ the Bureau said.