Maine massacre suspect Robert Card’s family told of his death before public announcement

The family of the man suspected of carrying out a mass shooting in Maine were told of his death before officials publicly made the announcement.

Robert Card, 40, was found dead in an area near a recycling facility where he used to work and had recently been fired.

He is suspected to have killed 18 and injured 13 at two locations in Lewiston, Maine, in the deadliest mass shooting ever witnessed in the state.

Card is believed to have taken his own life, officials said at a press conference on Friday evening. The announcement concluded a 48-hour-long manhunt after Wednesday night’s attacks.

Maine’s public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said authorities had contacted the families of the victims as well as Card’s family prior to Friday’s media briefing. Mr Sauschuck said the body had been found at 7.45pm ET.

“They lost a loved one in this scenario, and there were many of that family that was very cooperative with us throughout [sic]. So they deserved that phone call,” he said.

Many details surrounding the incident were initially withheld from the public because authorities wanted to speak to the victims’ families first, he said.

Card, who served as a firearms instructor in the US Army Reserve, is suspected to have opened fire at a bowling alley and then at a bar in Lewiston on Wednesday night.

Police responded to emergency calls at the two locations 4.1 miles apart: a restaurant called Schemengees, and Just-In-Time Recreation. Seven people were killed in the bowling alley and eight at the bar.

Three victims were declared dead at local hospitals.

Shelter-in-place orders were imposed after the shootings in cities as far as 50 miles away.

Maine’s largest city, Portland, closed its public buildings, while the Canada Border Services Agency issued an alert to its officers stationed along the US border to look out for the “armed and dangerous” suspect.

The orders were lifted after Friday’s news conference, allowing residents of Lewiston and nearby towns Lisbon and Bowdoin to leave home for the first time since Wednesday night.

“Tonight we’re grateful that Lewiston and surrounding communities are safe after spending excruciating days hiding in their homes,” US president Joe Biden said in a statement.

“Americans should not have to live like this,” he said and called on Congress to take action on gun violence.

“Like many people I’m breathing a sigh of relief tonight knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone,” Maine governor Janet Mills said.