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Friday, June 14, 2024

Manhunt underway in Maine after mass shooting leaves 18 dead

A massive manhunt is currently underway in Maine for the US Army reservist suspected of a horrific mass shooting that claimed the lives of 18 people and left 13 others injured.

Robert Card, the prime suspect, is believed to be armed and dangerous, prompting a statewide search that has gripped the nation.

The search for Card has mobilized hundreds of law enforcement officers, including the FBI, who are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to locate him.

The aftermath of Wednesday’s tragic events in Lewiston has left the community on edge, with schools and businesses shutting their doors. People have sought shelter as far as 50 miles (80km) away from the scenes of the shootings.

On Thursday night, law enforcement officers conducted a dramatic raid on a property in the neighbouring town of Bowdoin.

Part of this operation played out on live television as police executed warrants in the area, which is just a short drive from Lewiston. Through a megaphone, they called for Card to surrender and come out of the house “with your hands up.”

After several hours, the police left the scene.

The reasons for the manhunt remain unclear, but officials stated that they were diligently pursuing all leads to locate and apprehend Card.

Suspect Robert Card has not been seen since the shooting

Wednesday’s tragic events marked the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks incidents where four or more people are killed or injured, excluding the perpetrator.

Furthermore, this mass shooting is considered the worst ever recorded in Maine, a state known for its high rates of gun ownership and relatively low levels of gun violence.

The number of victims nearly matches the state’s total homicides for all of 2022.

The search for Card is a multi-faceted effort involving land, water, and air operations and has now entered its third day.

The tragedy began at a bowling alley in Lewiston just before 19:00 local time (23:00 GMT) on Wednesday when one woman and six men lost their lives.

In a span of about 10 minutes, gunfire erupted at a nearby restaurant, Schemengees Bar & Grille, where eight more men were fatally shot.

Sixteen injured individuals were initially rushed to local hospitals, with three later succumbing to their injuries.

Lewiston, along with three nearby towns, remains under a shelter-in-place notice, causing schools and most local businesses to remain closed, affecting the daily lives of the community.

Police presence is noticeable on the streets, and most residents have stayed in their homes.

Maine’s Governor Janet Mills expressed her condolences, calling it a “dark day” for the state and pledging to seek justice for the victims and their families.

The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies are cooperating with local and state police in the manhunt.

Neighbouring states are also providing resources and maintaining a vigilant stance, considering the possibility that the suspect may have crossed state lines.

Canadian border officials have been alerted to be on the lookout for the suspect, reflecting the gravity of the situation.

Maine boasts one of the lowest homicide rates in the United States, making this tragedy all the more shocking.

Renowned author Stephen King, who resides near the area where the shootings occurred, voiced his anguish, calling for new gun safety legislation to regulate assault rifles.

The establishments affected by the violence, such as Schemengees Bar & Grille and Just-In-Time Recreation, have expressed their grief and disbelief, emphasizing the impact of this senseless act on the community.

President Joe Biden has ordered flags at the White House and federal buildings to be lowered to half-mast in honour of the victims and has called on lawmakers in Congress to pass gun safety legislation, acknowledging the physical and mental scars borne by survivors and their families.

Speaking at a news conference, Maine Senator Susan Collins called for a ban on high-capacity magazines and expressed the profound grief that has engulfed the state.

“This heinous attack,” she remarked, “is the worst mass shooting that the state of Maine has ever experienced and could ever imagine.”

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