An arrest warrant was issued on Thursday for Sgt. 1st Class Robert Card, a military man and firearms instructor accused of gunning down 18 people inside a Maine bowling alley and bar Wednesday night.
Card is so far facing eight counts of murder in connection with the violence inside the Sparetime Recreation Center bowling alley and Schemengees Bar and Grille. Maine State Police Col. William G. Ross clarified that charges have so far only been brought in connection with the victims who have been identified. As an investigation into the shooting unfolds, he added, “the counts will probably go to a total of 18.”
The carnage kicked off inside Sparetime at 6:56 p.m. Wednesday. A little over an hour later, authorities received a 911 call about another incident at Schemengees, located within five miles of the bowling alley.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, authorities posted images online of a suspect wielding an assault rifle and wearing cargo pants. Card was identified as a person of interest hours later.
As of Thursday afternoon, he remains at large and police said he “should be considered armed and dangerous.”
Here’s what we know so far:
The U.S. Army Reserve on Thursday confirmed Card enlisted in 2002 and served as a “Petroleum Supply Specialist,” WGME reported. The role, which requires 10 weeks of basic training, involves supplying the Army“with the fuel it needs to maintain a state of readiness at all times.” He would’ve been tasked with jobs like supervising and managing the reception, storage and shipping of bulk or packaged petroleum-based products.
“He has no deployments,” the Army Reserves said in a statement. “ His awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal x2, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.”
An Army Reservist is not considered full-time, active duty military personnel, though they can be deployed at any time.
“The purpose of the Reserve is to provide and maintain trained units and qualified persons to be available for active duty in the armed forces when needed,” per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “This may be in times of war, in a national emergency, or as the need occurs based on threats to national security.”
Mental health struggles
According to a bulletin released late Wednesday by the Maine Information and Analysis Center, Card was struggling with his mental health in recent months. He was committed to a mental health facility over the summer after he reported “hearing voices.” The document, which has since been circulated among law enforcement officers, further noted that Card made threats to “shoot up” a military base in Saco, where he also reportedly served as a firearms instructor.
Card was released from the facility after two weeks, the bulletin said. No further details were provided about his treatment or condition.
A local government website states MIAC is a program of the Maine Department of Public Safety that collects, analyzes, and shares intelligence “between the federal government and the State of Maine.”
Authorities in Sagadahoc County — not far from Androscoggin county, where Lewiston is located — said they have had interactions with Card in the past, WGME reported. Sheriff Joel Merry declined to provide further details.
“We are gathering everything we know about this individual and are passing that along to the proper authorities to help with the investigation,” Merry said.
Card otherwise has had few encounters with law enforcement. He was arrested in Topsham for operating a vehicle under the influence, which is a misdemeanor, in April 2007, according to the news network. A month later, he was found guilty and fined $500. He also had his license suspended for 90 days and was required to spend 48 hours behind bars.