June 22nd, 2024

Documents reveal horror of Maine’s deadliest mass shooting


By David Sharp And Holly Ramer, The Associated Press on June 7, 2024.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) –

Thousands of pages Maine Department of Public Safety documents released Friday include detailed descriptions of the chaos and carnage surrounding the state’s deadliest mass shooting.

Officers arrived at the two shooting scenes in Lewiston last October not knowing if the gunman was still there, and with living and dead victims on the floors. One officer described desperate survivors screaming for help as he searched for the shooter.

“They grab at our legs and try to stop us and we can not help them,” wrote Lewiston Officer Keith Caoueutte. “We have to walk by and continue to search and hope they are alive when we come back around.”

Another police officer’s first instinct was that an act of domestic terrorism had been committed, underscored by the heavy police presence and flashing blue lights. “I truly felt like we were at war,” Auburn Lt. Steven Gosselin wrote.

Their descriptions of the scenes at a bowling alley and a bar and grill where 18 people were killed and 13 others wounded were included in more than 3,000 pages of documents released Friday by Maine Department of Public Safety in response to Freedom of Access Act requests by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

Associated Press reporters had reviewed more than a third of the pages before the website with the documents crashed late Friday afternoon. State officials said documents will be made available again on Monday.

Among the details included in the report were the words from a note left behind by the gunman, 40-year-old Army reservist Robert Card, who wrote that he just wanted to “be left the (expletive) alone,” the Portland Press Herald reported. The note also contained his phone password and passwords needed to access his various accounts.

The gunman’s family and fellow Army reservists reported that he was suffering from a mental breakdown in the months leading up to the shooting Oct. 25, 2023. In the aftermath, the legislature passed new gun laws for Maine that bolstered the state’s “yellow flag” law, criminalized the transfer of guns to prohibited people and expanded funding for mental health crisis care.

Card’s body was found two days after the shooting in the back of a tractor-trailer on his former employer’s property in nearby Lisbon. An autopsy concluded he died by suicide.

___

Ramer reported from Concord, New Hampshire. Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc contributed from Boston.

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