The suspect in a Maine mass shooting, Robert Card, seems to have held extremist right-wing views, particularly against the transgender community according to social media accounts appearing to be from him.
The massacre, which began on Wednesday evening shortly before 7 p.m., has left 18 dead and 13 injured, according to a briefing from the state’s Democratic governor, Janet Mills.
An arrest warrant has now been issued, charging Card, 40, with eight counts of murder, a figure expected to rise as more victims are identified.
The X profile allegedly from Card have been taken down.
Card’s digital activity on X showcases possible support for damaging narratives propagated by right-wing personalities Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump Jr. Following a separate mass shooting incident in Nashville in March, Carlson posted inflammatory remarks on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The trans movement, it turns out, is the mirror image of Christianity, and therefore its natural enemy. People who believe they’re God can’t stand to be reminded that they’re not,” Carlson said.
Trump Jr. also posted on X, writing, “Given the incredible rise of trans/non-binary mass shooters in the last few years… by far the largest group committing as a percentage of population… maybe, rather than talking about guns we should be talking about lunatics pushing their gender affirming bullshit on our kids?” Card liked both posts, indicating his endorsement of these harmful ideologies.
Given the incredible rise of trans/non-binary mass shooters in the last few years\u2026 by far the largest group committing as a percentage of population\u2026 maybe, rather than talking about guns we should be talking about lunatics pushing their gender affirming bullshit on our kids?— (@)
In the wake of this tragedy, President Joe Biden released a statement expressing grief and calling for enhanced gun control measures.
He lamented, “Once again, our nation is in mourning after yet another senseless and tragic mass shooting. Today, Jill and I are praying for the Americans who’ve lost their lives, for those still in critical care, and for the families, survivors, and community members enduring shock and grief.”
The President also urged the public to follow the guidance of local officials as federal law enforcement personnel actively collaborate with state and local partners on the scene. He affirmed his administration’s support for the people of Maine.
“As I told Maine Governor Janet Mills, Senators Collins and King, and Congressman Golden last night, I have directed my administration to provide everything that is needed to support the people of Maine. We will continue to be there every step of the way,” Biden said.
Highlighting the recurring trauma for survivors of gun violence and their families, Biden emphasized the importance of taking action on gun safety. He said, “Today, in the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers. This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars — physical and mental — of this latest attack.”
The shooting occurred at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation, a local bar and grill, and a bowling alley, causing panic and chaos among patrons. Witnesses recount hearing about 10 shots, initially mistaking the first for a balloon popping before realizing the grave danger as Card brandished a semiautomatic rifle and continued shooting.
A CBS News report provides a deeper insight into the suspect’s background. According to a Maine law enforcement bulletin, Card, a sergeant first class in the Reserve, was enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and believed to be stationed out of Saco. Initially identified as a trained firearms instructor, an updated bulletin clarified there’s no indication of him being an instructor, according to CBS.
Card reported experiencing mental health issues, including hearing voices, and had threatened to shoot up the National Guard base in Saco. He was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks during the summer.
In July, while training at the U.S. Military Academy in New York, Card exhibited erratic behavior, which prompted leaders of the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment, to alert the garrison staff, CBS reported.
New York State Police were contacted, and Card was taken to an Army hospital at West Point for evaluation. Card, a petroleum supply specialist, enlisted in the Reserve in 2002 and has no combat deployments on record.
The manhunt for Card intensified Thursday morning with police officials releasing images of him armed with a semiautomatic rifle. With connections to Massachusetts, law enforcement agencies, including federal agents and Massachusetts State Police, are staged at the Maine border while Canada’s Border Services Agency issued an “armed and dangerous” alert along the U.S.-Canada border.
Authorities are urging residents in the region to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity as they work tirelessly to apprehend Card. A shelter-in-place advisory has been extended to several areas, including Bowdoin, Maine, where Card hails from, and the neighboring city of Auburn. Schools across the region remain closed as the search continues.
In the press briefing on Thursday morning, Colonel William G. Ross of the Maine State Police shared a detailed timeline of the tragic events. The first alert of the crisis came at around 6:56 p.m. when a 911 call reported a shooting at the Sparetime Recreation Center. Minutes later, at 7:08 p.m., multiple 911 calls said an active shooter was at Schemengees.
A massive law enforcement response from various agencies swiftly converged on the scenes to assist the Lewiston Police Department in managing the rapidly evolving and dangerous situation, Ross said. State, local, and federal law enforcement agencies from the East Coast are engaged in the search.
Flags around the country have been ordered to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of the attack.