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Maine shooting manhunt enters second day; residents still sheltering in place

Law enforcement personal block a road as they search a house on Meadow Road in Bowdoin, Maine, Thursday, October 26, 2023. 

Salwan Georges | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Authorities were still searching Friday for the suspect in a mass shooting that killed at least 18 people at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, Maine, as the massive effort entered its second day.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin, Maine on multiple counts of murder. Card is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached under any circumstances, police said.

Residents in Androscoggin County and northern Sagadahoc County were under shelter in police orders and had been told to lock their doors as federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement searched for Card, police said.

Police executed several search warrants in Bowdoin on Thursday night.

Card is a trained firearms instructors and a sergeant first class in the Army Reserve, where he serves as a petroleum supply specialist. He has no combat deployments, according to the Defense Department.

As recently as this summer, Card suffered from mental health issues, law enforcement and Defense Department officials told NBC News. His superiors in the Army sent him to an inpatient facility in July after he claimed to hear voices and made threats to the base. There, Card underwent psychiatric treatment for two weeks and was then released, officials said.

In this image from video released by the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, a gunman enters Just-In-Time Recreation in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.

Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office via AP

The rifle used by the gunman was purchased legally this year, law enforcement told NBC News.

Police said a shooter opened fire at Just in Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar and Grille Wednesday evening, killing seven people at the bowling alley and eight people at the bar. Three people were later pronounced dead at the hospital. The two business are about 12 minutes apart by car.

Eight victims remained hospitalized on Thursday evening, five of whom were in stable condition and three who were in critical condition, said Steve Littleson, CEO of Central Maine Medical Center.

Law enforcement officials gather in the road leading to the home of the suspect being sought in connection with two mass shootings on October 26, 2023 in Bowdoin, Maine.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The mass shooting has reignited America’s long running but politically stalled debate over gun control.

President Joe Biden on Thursday called for Republican lawmakers to work with Democrats to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, enact universal background checks and require the safe storage of firearms.

Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, on Thursday announced that he would support a prohibition on assault weapons, after previously opposing such a ban. Golden represents the congressional district that includes Lewiston.

“I ask for forgiveness and support as I seek to put an end to these terrible shootings,” Golden told reporters at a press conference Thursday evening.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, demurred when asked whether she would support an assault weapons ban in the wake of the shooting. Collins said outlawing high-capacity magazines would be more effective.

A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines has virtually no chance of passing Congress given the staunch opposition to gun control by most Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.

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