Documents Show the Devastation of Maine's Bloodiest Mass Shooting

A trove of Maine Department of Public Safety documents were made public on Friday, providing extensive accounts of the mayhem and devastation that unfolded during the state’s most tragic mass shooting.

Officers responded to the two shooting scenes in Lewiston last October, facing the uncertainty of whether the gunman was still present, and encountering both injured and deceased victims. An officer recounted the harrowing scene of terrified survivors crying out for assistance as he diligently searched for the assailant.

“They attempt to impede our progress by grabbing onto our legs, but unfortunately, we are unable to provide them with assistance,” expressed Lewiston Officer Keith Caouette. “We must persist in our search, hoping that they will still be alive when we return.”

It appeared that a police officer immediately suspected an act of domestic terrorism, as evidenced by the significant police presence and flashing blue lights. “It was as if we were in the midst of a battle,” expressed Auburn Lt. Steven Gosselin.

The scenes at a bowling alley and a bar and grill, where 18 people were killed and 13 others wounded, were described in detail in over 3,000 pages of documents that were released on Friday. These documents were made public in response to Freedom of Access Act requests by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

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Reporters from the Associated Press managed to review over a third of the pages before the website containing the documents unexpectedly crashed on Friday afternoon. State officials have announced that documents will once again be made available starting on Monday.

A note left behind by the gunman, 40-year-old Army reservist Robert Card, revealed his desire to be left alone, according to the Portland Press Herald. In addition, the note included his phone password and the passwords required to access his different accounts.

According to reports from the gunman’s family and fellow Army reservists, he was experiencing a mental breakdown in the months prior to the shooting on October 25, 2023. Following the incident, the Legislature in Maine swiftly enacted new gun laws that strengthened the state’s existing “yellow flag” law, made it a crime to transfer firearms to individuals who are prohibited from owning them, and allocated more resources for mental health crisis care.

A body was discovered in the back of a tractor-trailer on the property of Card’s former employer in Lisbon, two days after the shooting incident. The cause of death was determined to be suicide, according to the autopsy report.

In the recently released documents, officers have shared their firsthand accounts of what they witnessed, shedding light on the extensive search for Card and the ongoing investigation.

According to state police Lt. Tyler Stevenson, the law enforcement presence during the peak of the situation was extensive. It included 16 SWAT teams and officers from 14 different agencies, as well as eight helicopters, additional airplanes, and an underwater recovery team.


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