Boston, Massachusetts, October 28, 2023
In a tragic turn of events that shook the community of Lewiston, Maine, a suspect swiftly carried out a mass shooting, leaving 18 people dead and law enforcement in a race against time. The suspect, identified as Robert Card, managed to elude the police and disappear into the night, leaving behind a scene of chaos and devastation. A detailed timeline of the events has been released, shedding light on the rapid sequence of the tragic incident.
The first sign of the impending horror came at 6:56 p.m. on a fateful Wednesday when the first 911 call was made from a local bowling alley, where Robert Card initiated his shooting spree. Remarkably, just 90 seconds later, four plainclothes officers, who happened to be at a nearby shooting range and overheard the call on their radios, rushed to the scene. However, Card had already made a hasty exit, leaving authorities trailing behind.
Subsequently, at 7:08 p.m., dispatchers started receiving distress calls reporting a shooter at a bar located approximately four miles away from the bowling alley. The first police officers arrived at the bar merely five minutes after the initial reports, but, yet again, Card managed to evade capture, disappearing into the night.
Following these initial moments of terror, a two-day intensive search ensued, causing businesses to close and residents to hunker down in their homes, gripped by fear. The widespread manhunt came to a grim conclusion on Friday when Card’s lifeless body was found in Lisbon Falls, not far from the scene of the shootings. It appeared that he had taken his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The timeline of these events highlights the stunning speed with which Robert Card executed the worst mass shooting in Maine’s history. Typically, suspects involved in such heinous acts are either captured alive or found deceased within minutes of the police’s arrival. However, in Card’s case, not a single officer managed to catch a glimpse of him before he made his getaway.
Craig Caine, a former U.S. Marshal’s Service inspector with experience on the “New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force,” suggested that the rapid sequence of events might have created a state of confusion and inundated law enforcement agencies. He remarked, “By the time they responded to one location, they had calls coming in for a second location, then a third location. I’m sure it was overwhelming, and there was confusion. That could have been one reason why…nobody got eyes on him.”
The toll from this senseless act of violence is undeniably tragic. Seven individuals lost their lives at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley, eight more perished at Schemengees Bar and Grille, while three succumbed to their injuries in hospitals, according to the police. Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck disclosed the response timeline details during a press conference held nearly 48 hours after the devastating events.
Sauschuck provided insights into the sequence of events, explaining that the four plainclothes officers who responded to Just-in-Time Recreation arrived within 90 seconds, followed by the first uniformed officer two and a half minutes later. Just one minute afterward, eight more officers arrived at the scene. State police officers reached the location approximately 11 minutes after the call for assistance, at around 7 p.m.
After the reports of the bar shooting, Lewiston police arrived within five minutes, joined by state police officers who had been en route to the first shooting scene but were rerouted, Sauschuck revealed. The situation escalated when a third call was made on that fateful night, this time from a Walmart facility reporting a possible shooter. However, it turned out to be a false alarm, adding to the chaos and urgency of the situation.
The devastating events in Lewiston have left a community in mourning and law enforcement grappling with the rapid unfolding of tragedy. As the details continue to emerge, the impact of this horrifying incident serves as a stark reminder of the need for enhanced preparedness and response in the face of such senseless acts of violence.