A 40-year-old firearms instructor who had been named a suspect in Wednesday’s mass shootings at two businesses in Lewiston, Maine, was found dead Friday, four top law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The suspect’s body was found in a wooded area between Lewiston and Bowdoin, about 15 miles away, officials said.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the suspect was found dead in a Facebook post. A press conference was scheduled for 10 p.m.
Eighteen people were killed in the shooting, when Robert Card allegedly opened fire at the Schemengees Bar and Grille and Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley Wednesday night in Lewiston, a town of about 37,000.
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This development follows a massive manhunt described by Maine’s public safety commissioner as a “total court press.” More than 350 law enforcement personnel were involved in the search, state police said.
Residents of Lewiston, as well as several surrounding towns, were asked to shelter in place following the shooting. The order was listed Friday evening. Lewiston, the state’s second-largest city, resembled a ghost town with many closed businesses.
The shootings, which took place around 7 p.m. Wednesday at two businesses about four miles apart, are the deadliest mass shooting in Maine history. Photos released by law enforcement showed a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt walking with a black rifle fitted with what appeared to be a scope.
The motive for the killings was unknown as the manhunt continued.
What to know about the deadly shootings in Lewiston
A member of Card’s family said his mental health quickly deteriorated and he began hearing voices.
Card was a longtime Army reservist. His unit commanders sent him for psychiatric treatment this summer, and he spent about two weeks in inpatient psychiatric treatment, two senior law enforcement officials said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Card on eight counts of murder, Maine State Police announced Thursday morning. The eight charges were based on the initial identification of eight of the 18 dead, and the number of charges will likely increase, State Police Col. William Ross said.
The 18 dead were identified and their names were read by Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck at a news conference Friday.
After Wednesday’s shooting, Card’s Subaru was searched by police and was found later that night near a boat ramp in Lisbon, a city about 7 miles southeast of Lewiston, officials said.
On Thursday, police executed search warrants in Bowdoin, the small town about 12 miles east of Lewiston where Card lived.
The shootings shocked Mainers and people across the country.
President Joe Biden said the United States was mourning “another senseless and tragic mass shooting.” Sen. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, called it a “heinous attack.”
At the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, it was youth night when the shooter walked in and opened fire.
“It’s just innocent people who come to bowl,” said Kim McConville, whose cousin and her 14-year-old son were killed at the bowling alley. “It was an event for children. Who expects a shooter to participate in a children’s event? »
Lewiston and the adjacent town of Auburn, just across the Androscoggin River, have a population of approximately 65,000.
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