Maine shootings: Four victims confirmed from deaf community as divers scour river for suspect

Maine shootings: Four victims confirmed from deaf community as divers scour river for suspect

The 18 people killed in two mass shootings in Maine ranged in age from 14 to 76 and included four people in the deaf community, it has been revealed, as divers scoured a river for suspect Robert Card.

All victims who died have been identified, a spokesperson for the state's medical examiner's office said on Friday. She said victims ranged in age from 14 to 76.

Maine's Public Safety Commissioner named all 18 victims, with all their families now notified.Commissioner Mike Sauschuck read the names at a news conference and photos of those slain were posted on a board behind him. The reading was followed by a moment of silence.

At least four people were in the deaf community, the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf said on Friday.

Joshua Sears, a sign language interpreter, was among those killed while he was playing in a cornhole tournament at Schemengees Bar with friends.

His wife Elizabeth Seal said in a Facebook post that he was "a wonderful husband, my best friend, and my soulmate. He was also a wonderful boss, an incredible interpreter, a great friend, a loving son, brother, uncle, and grandson."Other victims included a 14-year-old bowler, a shipbuilder who loved playing the game of cornhole and a sign language interpreter.According to Maine State Police, seven people died Wednesday night at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley. Six were male and one was female. Eight more people, all male, died at Schemengees Bar and Grille. Three others died after being taken to hospitals.


Divers searched a river in Maine as the desperate manhunt for suspect Robert Card continued.

Maine police had received more than 500 tips as they search for the US Army reservist, aged 40.

People can expect to see investigators at the two shooting scenes — a restaurant and a bowling alley — in coming days as they process "every square inch of these facilities," Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck told reporters on Friday.

Divers and other investigators will be searching at the Androscoggin River, near where suspect Robert Card's car was found, on Friday also.

"We are on 24 hours, and we will be, until the suspect in this case is brought to justice," Mr Sauschuck said.

Officials ordered tens of thousands of area residents to shelter in place for their safety, but this was lifted on Friday evening.

"I will ask the community to be as patient as possible with this process," Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre said at the press conference.

Asked if he was concerned that the trail is growing cold, Sauschuck said: "Every minute that this goes on we're more and more concerned."

Officers have already searched multiple homes and earlier focused on a large property belonging to one of Card's relatives in rural Bowdoin, where concerned locals said Card could have the upper hand in navigating the rural, wooded area that he knows well.

Law enforcement officials gather in the road leading to the home of the suspect on Thursday (Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials gather in the road leading to the home of the suspect on Thursday (Getty Images)

Late on Thursday, heavily armed law enforcement backed by a police helicopter surrounded the home and told anyone who might be inside to surrender, but authorities eventually left without indicating anyone had been taken into custody.

In Portland, some restaurants and bars closed their doors. Lewiston public schools remained closed for a second day, according to a post by Superintendent Jake Langlais on the district's website.

"We remain in a shelter in place situation," the post said. "We will not open buildings or run bus transportation."

Hundreds of law enforcement agents, including dozens of FBI agents, have been carrying out the manhunt since Wednesday night.

Authorities said he should be considered armed and dangerous and not approached.

 (Androscoggin County Sheriff's Of)
(Androscoggin County Sheriff's Of)

President Joe Biden ordered all US flags to be flown at half-staff as condolences poured in from around the nation and at home, including from author and Maine native Stephen King, who called it "madness".

The attacks stunned a state of only 1.3 million people that has one of the country's lowest homicide rates, with 29 killings in all of 2022.

Card underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after he began acting erratically while with his reserve regiment, a US official told The Associated Press.

The Androscoggin County sheriff's office released two photos of the suspect walking into the bowling alley with a rifle raised to his shoulder.

Investigators have not said what weapon or weapons Card used in the shootings or how he obtained them.

Maine Governor Janet Mills promised to do whatever was needed to find Card and to "hold whoever is responsible for this atrocity accountable... and to seek full justice for the victims and their families".

Eight murder warrants were issued for Card after authorities identified eight of the victims, police said.

Shooting victims Tricia Asselin and Bob Violette
Shooting victims Tricia Asselin and Bob Violette

Ten more will likely be issued once the names of the rest of the dead are confirmed, said Maine state police colonel William Ross.

Three of the 13 people wounded in the shootings were in critical condition and five were hospitalised but stable, Central Maine medical centre officials said.

Two of the deceased have been named publicly as bowling instructor Bob Violette, aged 76, and Tricia Asselin, 53.

The attack started at Just-In-Time Recreation, where a children's bowling league was taking place, just before 7pm on Wednesday.

He said he scrambled down the length of the alley, sliding into the pin area and climbing up to hide in the machinery.

Less than 15 minutes after the shooting began, numerous 911 calls started coming in from Schemengees, which was offering 25% discounts to customers who work in the bar or restaurant industry.