In the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine,that killed at least 18 people and left more than a dozen Wednesday night, officials in the area are urging residents to stay home as the manhunt for a person of interest continues.
Authorities have identified 40-year-old Robert R. Card as the suspect in the shootings. Lewiston Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
“We will get him, it’s not a doubt in my mind. This is a matter of when and I urge everybody just stay home, shelter in place be with your family and friends at this time,” Mayor Jason Levesque, of the neighboring community of Auburn, Maine, told “CBS Mornings.”
Schools have been closed as a precaution. Alert protocols have been expanded beyond Maine, with authorities in Massachusetts and as far away as New York City on the lookout.
State police said the incident began shortly before 7 p.m. with a shooting at a bowling alley, followed by more shooting at a bar and restaurant around 8 p.m. The sheriff’s office circulated surveillance images depicting an armed man, believed to be the suspect, entering the bowling alley. By 8:09 p.m., Maine State Police had announced an active shooter situation, advising residents to secure their premises.
One witness recounted a scene of terror, describing sudden gunfire interrupting a normal night out bowling. At first, he assumed it was something as harmless as a balloon bursting. The reality was far more deadly.
“I just booked it down the lane and I slid basically into where the pins are, and climbed up to the machine and was on top of the machines for about 10 minutes until the cops got there,” the man said.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., a vehicle suspected to be connected to the shootings was located in Lisbon, eight miles from Lewiston, with the driver-side door ajar, indicating he had fled. It prompted a response from units across the state.
As the manhunt continues into a second day, the community grapples with shock and heartache. Local hospitals are teeming with victims, and staff are overwhelmed.
Distraught family members, desperate for news about their loved ones, congregated at a middle school in Auburn set up as a temporary gathering point.
“You can see the joy and the relief on people’s faces as they’re reunified with individualsm” Levesque said. “And the other hand, you’re talking to individuals who are still waiting to hear.”