The manhunt to catch Maine mass shooting suspect Robert Card is now in its third day after what appeared to be a dramatic raid on his home in Bowdoin ended without any arrest and no sign of the US Army Reservist.
On Thursday night, Maine police and FBI agents arrived at his home with several vehicles and were heard shouting “FBI! Open the door!”, while members of the media were told to back stand away from the house with their lights.
The heavy police presence dissipated hours later, with law enforcement officials saying that it had all just been standard procedure to serve a warrant and search the property.
Mr Card is wanted on suspicion of murdering 18 victims and wounding 13 others in mass shootings across two locations on Wednesday night.
The exact number of dead is not certain. At least 16 people are dead, law enforcement officials told CNN. Lewiston City Councilor Robert McCarthy told CNN Wednesday night 22 people had been killed, citing a city administrator.
Confusion may have arisen because of some individuals being counted twice in the general confusion after the shocking event, with the dead and injured transported to different hospitals.
The governor of Maine gave a press conference and said there were 18 dead and 13 injured.
The gunman first targeted the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley and then the Schemengees Bar & Grille in Lewiston before going on the run.
Several of the victims have now been named by family members, with a teenage boy among the dead.
Robert Card, suspect in the Lewiston, Maine, shootings, is a 40-year-old Army reservist, a trained firearms instructor, and had recently reported mental health issues including hearing voices.
What is bellieved to be his car has been found abandoned at a boat ramp with a gun inside, but it is not known whether this is the same gun used in the killings. It is also suspected that there is a missing boat, but whether the suspect escaped by river, or perhaps committed suicide by drowning is pure speculation at this point..
Police are also considering the possibility that he has fled the state, perhaps over the nearby border into Massachusetts. Many roadblocks are set up in the area, and helicopters are hovering overhead.
Card was reported to have been committed to a mental-health facility in Maine for two weeks this summer after threatening to shoot up a National Guard base.
Maine lacks a “Red Flag” law which allows people (including families) to request that firearms be taken away from a person who has been deemed to be mentally ill and a threat to themselves or others, as appears to have been the case here.
Maine has a “Yellow flag” law which has only been used two dozen times from 2020 to 2022 , which allows only police, but NOT family members to directly petition a judge to order someone to give up their guns.
Furthermore, apsychiatrist writing for the New York Post said he believed it is unlikely that Robert Card was taking anti-psychotic medication if prescribed, even after he threatened to shoot up a National Guard base.
This is what psychiatry calls homicidal ideation with a concrete plan. It is justification for involuntary commitment to a psychiatric facility and it immediately raises the question of why Card was reportedly released after only a two week stay.
Maine is in trouble when it comes to mental health services and it is not alone. Mental hospitals are being closed all across the country.
As of the end of 2021, there were only 87 mental health crisis workers for the entire state, compared with more than 2,500 law enforcement officers.
More than 2,000 patients were waiting for outpatient mental health treatment and 32 out of 45 emergency department beds were filled with individuals awaiting discharge for residential mental health care.
At the present time, Card is being hunted by local, state, and FBI officer over a large area, but right now, no one knows where he is, and there have been no sightings. The town of Lewiston remains on virtual lockdown, with people told to stay in their homes, and schools and businesses closed.
Lewiston is just waiting for more news, hopefully good news. President Biden has offered this thoughts and prayers, but local residents are hoping for more.
Sources: NY Post, Independent, news agencies, Sputnik News, BBC, VOA.