A huge police manhunt in underway seeking a gunman who killed at least 22 people in the sleepy US city last evening of Lewiston, Maine in the northeastern United States. Children are believed to be among the victims, but exact numbers are not yet known.
The shootings began at 18:56 local time on Wednesday at a bowling alley and a restaurant, police said.
Lewiston residents, as well as those in the nearby town of Lisbon, have been told to shelter in place.
Police named Robert Card, 40, as a person of interest and said he should be considered “armed and dangerous”.
The authorities have not yet confirmed a death toll but CBS, the BBC’s US partner, has said the number is at least 16 after speaking to multiple law enforcement officials.
There have also been multiple but unconfirmed reports of at least 50 people injured.
Michael Sauschuck, commissioner in Maine’s Department of Public Safety, said there had been “multiple casualties”.
Lewiston has a population of around 38,000 people and is the second-largest city in Maine after Portland.
Lewiston police said officers had responded to reports of shooting at two locations, a restaurant called Schemengees, and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley, which appear to be about four miles (6.5km) apart.
Riley Dumont told ABC News her 11-year-old daughter had been taking part in a children’s bowling league at the bowling alley when she heard several gunshots.
She said her father, a retired police officer, had then corralled their family into a corner.
“I was laying on top of my daughter,” she said. “My mother was laying on top of me.”
She added that she saw three or four apparent victims.
Billie Jayne Cooke, who is running for the city council in Lewiston, told BBC News Channel she had been leaving an event as details of the shooting emerged.
“Helicopters, sirens, I’ve never heard so much activity in my life in this city. We have police from all over the state, from out of the state, coming up,” she said.
“The whole city’s on lockdown. It’s horrible. You just don’t think that’s ever going to happen and it did.”
In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Maine State Police said: “There is an active shooter in Lewiston”.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released images of a person of interest, saying he was at large and asking for the public’s help identifying him.
They showed a bearded man in a brown sweater carrying a firearm walking into a building.
Robert Card is a firearms instructor who was trained by the US military at a facility in the city of Saco, Maine, according to a state police bulletin seen by CBS.
The bulletin also said he had spent time in a mental health centre in the summer of 2023 and had threatened to commit a shooting at the base.
Source: BBC News, news agencies.