A mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine left at least 18 people dead in a restaurant and a bowling alley on Wednesday. The incident has triggered a major search for Robert Card, a person of interest who is a trained firearms instructor. Authorities have urged residents to remain in their homes, while schools have declared closures for safety.
The search for the suspect has extended to both land and water after Card’s car was discovered near a boat launch on the Androscoggin River, raising questions about the whereabouts of his 15-foot boat. While there is no specific intelligence indicating that the suspect might have escaped on his boat, authorities are conducting a thorough search as a precaution.
The mass shooting in Maine has reignited the debate on gun control and the effectiveness of existing laws. Maine had enacted a “yellow flag” law just four years before this incident, which was aimed to prevent mass shootings by addressing potential threats. However, critics argue that stronger measures, such as “red flag” laws that prevent some gun sales, may be more effective in ensuring public safety.
The suspect, Robert Card, had spent two weeks in a mental health facility earlier in the summer and had reported hearing voices and threats of violence, but was still allowed to buy guns. Gun-control advocates are pointing at the tragedy as a consequence of what they consider weak gun laws.
The impact of the tragedy has reached across the border, with the Canada Border Services Agency issuing an “armed and dangerous” alert to its officers stationed along the Canada-U.S. border. The suspect’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and authorities on both sides of the border are collaborating to ensure public safety.
In response to the tragedy, President Joe Biden has called again for a ban on so-called assault weapons and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims. The incident in Maine has reignited the national conversation on gun control and the need for more stringent laws to prevent such devastating events in the future. This is the 37th mass shooting so far this year in the U.S., with a total of 185 dead.