Joseph Prezioso Agence France-Presse The hunt continues to find Robert Card, a 40-year-old man accustomed to handling guns and considered responsible for the carnage.
Waking up on Thursday morning does not dispel the recurring American nightmare. Another mass crime, another grieving community, another manhunt takes place in the United States, this time in Maine, where a shooting claimed the lives of at least 18 people in addition to injuring 13 others.
Her voice hoarse after a sleepless night, Maine Governor Janet Mills confirmed the results Thursday morning. “Our small state of barely 1.3 million inhabitants has long had the reputation of being one of the safest in the country,” she said during a press conference Thursday morning. This attack strikes at the very heart of who we are and the values we cherish. »
Horror struck shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday in Lewiston, the state's second-most populous city, located in southwest Maine. The first distress calls reached the police at 6:56 p.m.: a white man opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon in a bowling alley, Sparetime Recreation. When they arrived on site at 7:15 p.m., the authorities found the remains of seven people, six men and a woman.
No trace of the shooter, however: he had already continued his run to the Schemengees Bar & Grid. At this second crime scene, the murderer mowed down eight other men.
Three other victims died later in hospital. Among the 13 injured reported Thursday morning, three were in critical condition, eight others were in stable condition, and two others had been released from hospital. Authorities do not release any information about the sex, age or condition of the patients.
“It’s beyond our comprehension,” sighed Lewiston Police Chief David St-Pierre.< /p>
The hunt continues to find Robert Card, a 40-year-old man accustomed to handling rifles and considered responsible for the carnage. Authorities describe him as a member of the reserve army, employed at the Saco training center as a firearms instructor.
“We consider the suspect to be armed and dangerous,” Maine State Police Colonel William Ross said. No one should approach him under any circumstances. »
Struggling with failing mental health, Robert Card spent two weeks in a psychiatric facility last summer. The suspect said he heard voices and threatened to open fire on the Saco National Guard base.
Authorities have offered few details about the progress of the manhunt. “We are in the early stages of the investigation,” said Colonel Ross. We will have updates throughout the day. »
Three communities remain under alert: Lewiston, scene of the killings, Lisbon, a neighboring town where police found an abandoned white SUV “of interest” and Bowdoin, where the suspect resides. Schools remained closed on Thursday, and authorities urged the population to stay sheltered.
An arrest warrant for Robert Card is in effect. The man faces eight murder charges, one for each victim authorities have identified so far.
State police took charge of the investigation, assisted by the FBI. “We will work night and day with our public safety partners to provide the community with the answers they deserve,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation official Jodi Cohen.
In total, more than 350 members of the police are deployed on the ground to get their hands on the suspect. Help is pouring in from neighboring states: New Hampshire, for example, provided helicopters to track the shooter from the air, Maine public safety official Mike Sauschuck said.
In a choreography that has become ritual in a country which has already had 565 mass shootings since the start of the year, the White House deplored the latest carnage committed by firearms in the country.
“Far too much of Americans have now had a family member killed or injured due to gun violence. This is not normal and we cannot accept it, President Joe Biden wrote in a statement. Today, in the wake of another tragedy, I am calling on elected Republicans in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. »
- Manhunt in Maine after worst shooting of the year