Robert Card is the U.S. Army veteran who is accused of shooting and killing at least 18 people at a bowling alley and bar and grill in Lewiston, Maine, according to Maine’s governor.
Card was found deceased of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on October 27, 2023, the Associated Press reported.
Some of the victims were at the restaurant playing a cornhole game when the shooter burst in, according to the Sun Journal in Maine. They included members of the deaf community. Children in a youth league were present at the bowling alley when the suspect started shooting, according to WMTV, and some were injured.
You can read a round-up of the victims here. The first victim named was a grandfather and retired Sears mechanic named Bob Violette, who ran a youth bowling league.
Speaking in a press conference, the Maine governor, Janet Mills, said that 18 people had died and 13 more were wounded in the attack. She pledged the community’s support for the victims and their families and said law enforcement is working hard to find Card.
“This city did not deserve this terrible assault on its citizens, on its peace of mind, on its sense of security,” she said.
Mills also said that the shelter-in-place order was extended to Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin, all communities in Maine; the latter community is where Card is from. David St. Pierre, the Lewiston police chief, said in the news conference that residents should be “mindful of their own public safety” and asked for patience, saying the investigation is “large-scale.”
“This is an all-hands-on-deck approach,” he said. According to Fox News, “Card may have a police scanner and could be actively listening to some of their movements.”
Maine State Police Colonel William G. Ross said in the news conference that it was an “ongoing homicide investigation and search for the person that is responsible for it.”
Lewiston police had released Card’s name on the evening of October 25.
“Law Enforcement is attempting to locate Robert Card 4/4/1983, as a person of interest regarding the mass shooting at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation this evening. CARD should be considered armed and dangerous. Please contact law enforcement if you are aware of his whereabouts,” Lewiston police wrote.
Authorities are now labeling Card a suspect. Police released this photo of Card:
Card appears to have had a page on X (formerly Twitter). It was suspended, but not before it was reviewed by Heavy. On the page, the account liked posts by a number of conservative politicians and pundits, including Donald Trump Jr. The account also liked posts by Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson, CNBC, and a professor who studies terrorism.
A law enforcement alert from the Maine Information and Analysis Center said that Maine State Police were “attempting to locate Robert Card as a person of interest regarding a mass shooting incident at Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and the Sparetime Recreation in Lewiston, Maine.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Robert Card Served in the US Military But Had No Deployments, Reports Say
The law enforcement alert said that Card “is a trained firearms instructor believed to be in the Army Reserve stationed out of Saco, Maine.” However, authorities later told CBS News that is inaccurate.
CNN Pentagon reporter Haley Britzky wrote on X, “The Army confirms that Robert Card, a person of interest in the shootings last night in Maine, is currently a sergeant first class and petroleum supply specialist in the Army Reserve. He enlisted in 2002 and has no deployments on record.”
The Army told Fox News, “His awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal x2, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.”
Card’s Facebook page was taken down shortly after the shooting reports broke. However, people saved screenshots from it and shared them on X. He listed bowling as an interest on Facebook.
One screenshot included a comment exchange that indicated that Card may have served in the U.S. Army until recently.
“Another wild bus trip think we’re to old aren’t we. Good to hear from you just about to finish up my 20 years in the army got my letter just need them to approve my packet,” Card wrote 20 weeks ago to a friend, according to the screenshot.
“The friend referred to him as “Sargent Rob” and congratulated him on “20 years.” He asked, “Anyone left from the original 947th/439th? We will have to catch up sometime for a beer, it’s been about 11 years.”
Card’s Facebook page described him as living in Bowdoin, Maine, and public records gave his age as 40. The Robert Card who is the suspect is not a Robert Card who is a registered sex offender in Maine. Some people shared information and a photo about the wrong Robert Card on social media accounts.
Police broadcast a “BOLO” (“Be on the Lookout”) alert for Robert Card the suspect on the scanner:
In the Thursday news conference, Ross gave a timeline of the shootings. He said the first call came in for a man shooting at the bowling alley at 6:56 p.m. Shortly after that, at about 7:08 p.m., multiple 911 calls came in for an active shooter inside the second location, Schemengees. Seven people, one female and six males, died of gunshot wounds at the bowling alley, he said, and seven males inside Schemengees and one male outside of it also died of gunshot wounds, he said. Three people who were transferred to hospitals also died, bringing the death count to 18, according to Ross.
Registration of the suspect vehicle led authorities to Card’s identity, Ross said. Eight people have been identified, Ross said. There is an arrest warrant for multiple murder counts for Card.
A Central Maine Healthcare Center official told CNN that five of the injured victims are in stable condition, and three are in critical condition.
The death count dropped from 22 on October 25 to 18 on October 26. The Sun Journal in Maine reported that Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson had initially confirmed the number of deaths was at least 22 and said the victim number could rise. CNN also initially reported that there were at least 22 people dead, attributing the information to Lewiston City Councilor Robert McCarthy.
2. Robert Card Was Committed to a Mental Health Facility During the Summer & Had Been Hearing Voices
According to law enforcement, the alert says, “Card recently reported mental health issues to include hearing voices and threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco, ME. Card was also reported to have been committed to mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released.”
He is considered “armed and dangerous,” said the alert, which gave his address as Bowdoin, Maine, and his date of birth as April 4, 1983.
According to the Associated Press, Card, described as “a U.S. Army reservist,” was taken “by police for an evaluation after military officials became concerned that he was acting erratically in mid-July.”
The AP reported that “commanders in the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment” became concerned while he was training with the unit at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York.
The official said military commanders became concerned about Card’s safety and asked for the police to be called. New York state police took Card to the Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point for evaluation, the official said.
“I have known Rob my whole life,” said Katie O’Neill, who is married to Card’s brother, to the Daily Beast.
“He is quiet but the most loving, hardworking and kind person that I know. But in the past year, he had an acute episode of mental health, and it’s been a struggle,” she told the publication, adding that he started using hearing aids.
“He truly believed he was hearing people say things,” O’Neill told The Daily Beast, adding that “this all just happened within the last few months.”
She added, “He would get mad and claim that we didn’t believe him. We tried to listen to him and tell him that nobody was talking about him. Yesterday, as the story was unfolding, we prayed that Rob had nothing to do with this. But when we heard the two places where the shooting happened, my husband rushed home.”
The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released photos of the suspect. “Law enforcement in Androscoggin County are investigating two active shooter events. We are encouraging all businesses to lock down and or close while we investigate. The suspect is still at large,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook.
According to the Sun Journal, the shootings occurred at Sparetime Recreation on Mollison Way at about 7:15 p.m. and at Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant on Lincoln Street. At about 8:15 p.m., another shooting “was reported at the Walmart Distribution Center on Alfred A Plourde Parkway,” according to the Sun Journal.
The Daily Beast spoke to Card’s sister-in-law, who told the publication, “I am with police right now and my children [are] terrified and shaken, so I do not have a comment on anything right now.”
3. Robert Card, Who Once Studied at the University of Maine, Is Accused of Walking Into the Restaurant & Opening Fire While People Played Cornhole, a Witness Says
Kathy Lebel, co-owner of Schemengees, told the Sun Journal that she was told the suspect walked into the restaurant and “started shooting.”
“It was just a fun night playing cornhole. … It’s the last thing you’re expecting, right?” Lebel said to the newspaper. “I still feel like this whole thing is a nightmare.” Cornhole is a game like horseshoes where people throw bags of dried corn at a target.
The Sun Journal reported that there were 14 to 16 gunshot victims at Schemengees.
According to NBC News, Card “studied engineering at the University of Maine about 20 years ago,” from 2001 to 2004.
Authorities also released a photo of Card’s vehicle. “The car police believed he was driving, a white Subaru Outback, was found near the Lisbon boat dock on Frost Hill Avenue near Route 196, and police were seen by witnesses knocking on doors of nearby homes,” The Sun Journal reported.
On the scanner, law enforcement said people should shelter in place at the Walmart until law enforcement could get to them and clear the building. The employees said they saw a man “brandishing a weapon,” an officer said on the scanner, which was obtained through Broadcastify.
However, Walmart’s spokesman later told The Sun Journal that the shooting did not occur there. “This shooting did not occur on Walmart property,” Joe Pennington told the site. “The [distribution center] locked down like everyone else and police searched the facility.”
A woman wrote on a law enforcement post’s comment thread that Card was recently fired from a Lisbon, Maine, recycling plant. That information could not immediately be verified.
4. Robert Card Was Described as a Gun Fanatic Who Would ‘Shoot Guns All the Time’ & Lived in What Was ‘Basically a Compound’
Local resident Liam Kent told NBC News that Card lived in what was “basically a compound” in Bowdoin, Maine. “The family and Robert, they’re all gun fanatics,” Kent said to NBC. “For all intents and purposes, they are very much associated with right-wing militias. It’s known in the town to stay away from them and not approach them.”
Kent remembered seeing Card as a kid at “a nearby weigh station with a dead deer. Card was grinning, covered in blood with a gun still strapped to his body,” NBC reported.
“Also they would shoot guns all the time, you could hear them every day after school,” Kent added to the network. “It was like clockwork.”
Video showed law enforcement searching for the suspect.
Scanner traffic indicated that police were clearing a Walmart store early on, but a Walmart spokesperson told the Sun Journal that no shooting happened there.
Meghan Hutchinson told ABC News that she was inside the bowling alley with her daughter Zoey, 10, when the suspect opened fire. Her daughter was injured, Hutchinson said.
“I never thought I’d grow up and get a bullet in my leg,” Zoey said to ABC. “It’s just like, why? Why do people do this? I don’t really know what to say.”
Zoey, who barricaded herself with her mother in a backroom, told the network, “People have families and they’re young people who still have long lives ahead of them, and people shouldn’t be coming in and doing that. That’s not OK.”
She told the network that the bullet grazed her. “My pants had, like, a bullet thing in it and then I looked and it wasn’t deep. It was just like a scrape,” Zoey said to ABC. “I was scared, but it didn’t hurt, and I didn’t know what happened until I started bleeding.”
Hutchinson told ABC News that another child was also injured at the bowling alley.
Lewiston City Councilor Robert McCarthy, whose home is a half-mile from the shooting scenes, told CNN the mass shooting was “a real scary event.”
“We locked all the doors. We grabbed the guns,” he told CNN’s Abby Phillip. “We’re just waiting to hear that they catch the individual or individuals that did this.”
According to Maine court records, Card has no criminal history in Maine, with only speeding infractions on his record.
5. Authorities Found a Note in Robert Card’s Home
According to the New York Daily News, authorities found a note in Card’s home, but they said they are trying to decipher it. They did not disclose the contents.
People in Lewiston and Lisbon were asked to shelter in place on October 25, and the governor added Bowdoin, the suspect’s hometown, on October 26.
“There is an active shooter in Lewiston. We ask people to shelter in place. Please stay inside your home with the doors locked. Law enforcement is currently investigating at multiple locations. If you see any suspicious activity or individuals please call 911. Updates to follow,” Maine State Police wrote on their X page.
In the news conference, authorities confirmed the suspect’s vehicle was located in Lisbon and indicated they wanted people in Lisbon to shelter-in-place as a result.