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Manhunt for Maine mass shooting suspect continues as details on victims emerge

The manhunt continued Friday for the suspect in the mass shooting that killed 18 people and injured 13 in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night.

Divers will be searching part of the Androscoggin River near where 40-year-oldRobert Card‘s car was found in Lisbon, Maine, some 7 miles southeast of Lewiston, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said Friday. Investigators would also be searching on land in the area.

“They could be dragging a diver behind them literally while that diver is checking for evidence, checking for potential bodies,” Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck said authorities don’t know if the suspect is in the water and that the river is just one area being searched.

“We have a lot of other irons in the fire,” he said.

Police said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. Investigators are aware the suspect had access to numerous firearms, two law enforcement sources told CBS News’ Robert Legare and Michael Kaplan. According to one of those sources, the number of firearms the suspect could access was potentially into the double digits.

Authorities recovered a weapon from the suspect’s abandoned vehicle, law enforcement sources told CBS News’ Pat Milton and Legare. The firearm was legally purchased, a law enforcement source confirmed. It wasn’t clear if the recovered weapon was used in the shooting.

Hundreds of police officers and about 80 FBI agents, as well as federal marshals and personnel from other agencies, are involved in the search. Residents of local communities remained under shelter-in-place advisories.

On Thursday night, heavily armed law enforcement officers were seen surrounding a house in the nearby town of Bowdoin, where the suspect is from, and the Maine Department of Public Safety confirmed it was part of the investigation. But officers completed their search and cleared the scene without finding the suspect.

The deadly rampage began a little before 7 p.m. Wednesday evening at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley in Lewiston, where seven people were killed; six males and one female died of apparent gunshot wounds, state police Col. William Ross said during Thursday’s news conference.

At the second shooting scene,Schemengees Bar and Grille, about 4 miles away, seven males inside the establishment and one outside were killed, Ross said. Three other people died at an area hospital.

“For me it was incomprehensible that this can happen in Lewiston, Maine,” Mayor Carl Shelinetold CBS News Boston.

“Our city is facing this incredible loss and I am completely broken for our city, and my heart really goes out to the victims and their families right now,” Sheline said.

Investigators are looking into whether the suspect was targeting a specific individual, who is believed to be a current or former girlfriend, two U.S. officials and a former high-ranking official told CBS News. It wasn’t clear if the individual was at either of the two locations that were attacked.

Police received a 911 call about the bowling alley shooting at about 6:56 p.m. EDT, Ross said. Just over 10 minutes later, at about 7:08 p.m., police received multiple calls about the second shooting. Police from Lewiston and the surrounding area responded to the shooting.

The weapon used in the shooting was a semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine and scope, CBS News confirmed.

Meanwhile, details about many of the shooting victims were beginning to emerge in the aftermath of the shooting.

The fatalities

Arthur Strout, a 42-year-old father of three, was at Schemengees playing pool with his father, Arthur Barnard, who told CBS News he left the bar before the shooting that claimed his son’s life. Strout was described by his family as “a great dad.”

Those who knew 76-year-old Bob Violette told CBS News Boston he was gunned down doing what he loved: bowling. Violette was teaching at a youth bowling league inside Sparetime Recreation, a friend said, when the gunfire erupted.

Michael Deslauriers II was bowling with family and friends at Sparetime at the time of the shooting. Michael’s father confirmed to CBS News Boston that he is one of the deceased. Michael Deslauriers Sr. said his son and a friend made sure their wives and several children were safe before charging at the shooter. He said both men were killed.

Joseph Walker was a bar manager at Schemengees and was working when the shooting began. His father confirmed his death to CBS News. Auburn City Councilor Leroy Walkertold CBS News Bostonthat Joseph Walker was killed as he went after the gunman with a butcher knife.

Karen Hopkins, executive director of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth, Maine, said on Facebook that, “We lost four of our cherished community members in (the) Lewiston shooting. Including two fathers of children in our programs.” She said the four were Joshua Seal, Billy Brackett, Steve Vozzella and Bryan MacFarlane. CBS Portland affiliate WGME-TV says Seal was “a familiar face during the pandemic as an interpreter for the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.”

The schools superintendent in Winthrop, Maine, Jim Hodgkin, said in a letter to parents that a freshman at the high school, his father and an uncle of another high school student were killed in Lewiston.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine,tweetedthat Peyton Brewer-Ross, a member of the company’s pipe shop test crew, was slain in the shooting. The company said he was “a valuable part of our team” and “will be sorely missed.”

Suspect’s military and mental health history

The suspect, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army Reserve, is a petroleum supply specialist, according to the Army. He enlisted in the Reserve in 2002 and doesn’t have any combat deployments. He is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment in Saco, Maine, U.S. Army spokesperson Bryce Dubee told CBS News.

A Maine law enforcement bulletin seen by CBS News had said the suspect was a trained firearms instructor, but an updated bulletin said there’s no indication that he was an instructor.

He recently reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, according to the bulletin. He had also threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco, the bulletin said, and he was reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this summer.

In July, while training at the U.S. Military Academy in New York, leaders of the suspect’s unit told garrison staff that he was “behaving erratically,” a New York Army National Guard spokesperson told CBS News.

The New York State Police was contacted and took the suspect to an Army hospital at West Point to be evaluated, the spokesperson told CBS News. When asked about the incident, the state police told CBS News it was an active investigation and declined to comment.

Dubee, the Army spokesperson, told CBS News there aren’t any records to indicate the suspect participated in the West Point training. A U.S. official said this is because almost within the first day, he started acting erratically.

Authorities shared images of the suspect and asked people to contact them “if you recognize this individual.”

On Thursday morning, the police chief for Lisbon urged people to contact authorities if they see anything suspicious.

“If something isn’t right, if you look out in your yard and you’re like, that door wasn’t open or, you know, that trailer wasn’t positioned that way, if you see anything suspicious, please call us because that’s how we’re going to be able to work together and be able to get to the bottom of this,” Chief Ryan McGee told reporters.

The suspect hasconnections to Massachusetts, according to CBS News Boston sources, and Massachusetts State Police and federal agents were staged at the Maine border. Canada’s Border Services Agency issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers along the U.S.-Canada border, according to the Canadian Press.

According to the Maine law enforcement bulletin, a white Subaru Outback registered to the suspect was found. Maine State Police said earlier the “vehicle of interest” was recovered by police in Lisbon.

The vehicle was found near a boat launch near the Androscoggin River, which flows into the Kennebec River, CBS News confirmed.

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching waterways for the suspect’s boat with a response vessel from Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and a fixed-wing aircraft from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, CBS News confirmed.

Two other vehicles were registered to the suspect in Maine: a 2022 Yamaha motorcycle and a 2019 Sea-Doo green boat, according to the bulletin.

State police urged residents of Lewiston and Lisbon to shelter in place. “Please stay inside your home with the doors locked,” they wrote on social media.

Authorities later expanded the shelter-in-place advisory to Bowdoin. “Please stay inside your homes while more than 100 investigators, both local and federal work to locate Robert Card,” they said.

The city of Auburn, Maine, which borders Lewiston to the west, also advised residents to shelter in place. Lewiston is about 45 minutes north of Portland.

Numerous schools in the region closed Thursday due to the manhunt, WGME reported.Portland is among the places where schools were shut.

“My heart is crushed”

An owner of Schemengees said in a Facebook post: “My heart is crushed. I am at a loss for words. In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason. We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this. Sending out prayers to everyone.”

One man at the bowling alley said he heard about 10 shots and thought the first was a balloon popping. “I had my back turned to the door. And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon — he was holding a weapon — I just booked it,” he told The Associated Press, adding that he then hurried down the length of the alley and hid in the machinery behind the pins.

Maine has had between 16 to 29 homicides each year since 2012, according to the Reuters news service, citing state police.

President Biden was initially briefed on the shooting during Wednesday night’sstate dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday afternoon. Mr. Biden also spoke with Maine Governor Janet Mills; the state’s senators, Susan Collins and Angus King; and one of its members of Congress, Jared Golden.

Mr. Biden called the shooting a tragedy and urged Republicans in Congress to work with his administration to pass gun control measures including an assault weapons ban and a ban on high capacity magazines.

In a major reversal, Golden, a Democrat, called on Congress to ban assault weapons in the wake of the shooting.

“I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war, like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime,” Golden said at a news conference. “The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing in my hometown of Lewiston, Maine.”

-Evan Coan and Eleanor Watson contributed reporting. The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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