At least 18 people were killed and 13 were injured in two mass shootings in Lewiston, U.S. state of Maine, on Wednesday night, Maine Governor Janet Mills said on Thursday.
“This is a dark day for Maine,” Mills said at a press conference.
Police said the shooting began approximately at 6:56 p.m. local time on Wednesday at the Just In Time Recreation bowling alley. A short time later, they received reports of a shooting at Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, about three miles away.
Robert Card, 40, a trained firearms instructor and a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, has been identified as a person of interest. Law enforcement officials said Card “recently reported mental health issues.”
Hundreds of officers continue to search for Card, who is considered “armed and dangerous,” as he remains at large.
Residents across the area, including the cities of Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls and Bowdoin, were told to shelter in place.
U.S. President Joe Biden has spoken to state officials to offer his support after the deadly shootings, and ordered flags to be flown at half-mast until Monday to honor the victims, the White House said on Thursday.
“Once again, our nation is in mourning,” Biden said in a statement on Thursday, adding that actions taken so far on gun safety are “simply not enough.”
The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting of 2023 so far, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group.
Maine, a rural state of about 1.3 million, has one of the lowest homicide rates in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.