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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LEWISTON, Maine: The man suspected of killing 18 people and wounding 13 in a shooting rampage in Lewiston, Maine, was found dead on Friday, ending a 48-hour manhunt that followed the most lethal episode of gun violence in the state’s history, police said.
“All we can confirm is that he’s deceased and there’ll be a press release,” said a spokeswoman for the police department in the neighboring town of Lisbon.
ABC News, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, said the suspect, Robert R. Card, 40, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Card’s body was found in the woods near Lisbon by a recycling center from which he had recently been fired, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement source.
The US Army reservist was believed to have opened fire in a bowling alley and then a bar minutes later on Wednesday night.
The shootings and prolonged manhunt convulsed the normally bustling but serene community of Lewiston, a former textile hub and the second-most populous city in Maine.
Early in the day, police deployed along the Androscoggin River in nearby Lisbon, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Lewiston, with divers using sonar to look for evidence — or a body. Card’s white SUV was found nearby, Maine public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.
Sauschuck told an afternoon news briefing that businesses in the area can reopen, though hunting was prohibited in Lewiston and a few surrounding towns to avoid confusion from gunshots ringing out.
“We want our residents to remain vigilant,” Sauschuck said.
The town lies on the banks of the Androscoggin River about 35 miles (56 km) north of the state’s largest city, Portland, and nearly as far southwest of Maine’s capital, Augusta.
Card, an Army Reserve sergeant from the neighboring town of Bowdoin, has been described by authorities as a trained firearms instructor who served as a petroleum supply specialist when on duty at the military reserve base in Saco, Maine.
Law enforcement officials also said he has a history of mental illness and was committed to a psychiatric facility for two weeks during the summer of 2023, after which he was released.
Within hours of Wednesday night’s bloodshed, police circulated surveillance camera photos from one of the crime scenes of a bearded man wearing a brown, hooded sweatshirt and jeans and carrying what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle.
Meanwhile, hundreds of officers from an array of agencies ranging from local police and sheriff’s deputies to the FBI and US Coast Guard joined the search. Canadian authorities, including its border officers, were on alert.
The initial trail of clues led to Lisbon, about 7 miles (11 km) to the southeast, where Maine State Police found a white SUV they believed Card used to make his getaway and parked at a boat launch on the river. Public records showed he owned at least one vessel made by Sea-Doo, a company known for its jet ski-style personal watercraft.
As part of their search for Card, police trawled the waters of the Androscoggin River with divers and sonar on Friday, and sent teams of officers door-to-door in neighborhood canvasses seeking additional clues and possible eyewitnesses.
According to the US Army, Card enlisted in the military in 2002 but has never seen combat. A Maine law enforcement bulletin issued on Wednesday night said Card “had recently reported mental health issues,” including auditory hallucinations, and had made “threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco.”
This latest shooting is one of the deadliest in the United States since 2017, when a gunman opened fire on a crowded music festival in Las Vegas, killing 60 people.
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