The streets of Lewiston and other locations in Maine are eerily quiet as grieving, frightened residents remain sheltered in place almost 48 hours after 18 people in Maine’s second largest city were murdered and 13 others were wounded by a mass murderer who remains at large.
Law enforcement agencies have issued a shelter in place order that covers Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon, and Bowdoin. Throughout the state the mood is somber, with schools and businesses closed, events canceled, residents hunkered down inside their homes, and Mainers reaching out to each other to ask after each other’s safety, extend their condolences to victims’ families, and mourn the loss of safety that Mainers have enjoyed until now.
The suspect is Robert Card, aged 40, who is considered armed and dangerous. An extensive coordinated law enforcement effort at the local, state, and federal levels is underway. At a press conference on October 27 at 10:00 a.m. authorities described that effort, which includes investigations at the crime scenes, where officers are processing every square inch to be sure they do not miss anything.
Meanwhile, today there will be divers in the water along the Androscoggin River around the boat launch as well as beyond, searching for evidence as well as possibly a body, in case the suspect drowned. There will be helicopters looking for shadows in the water or other indications of specific spots to search and then communicating with the divers. The Maine Warden Service is involved and there will be ground searches as well.
The public might see helicopters and planes connected with the search flying in different locations today, as well as officers pursuing their investigations. And people may hear noise from PA systems and bullhorns. Residents are urged not to draw conclusions, and wait for information from law enforcement about the manhunt.
The public is urged to contact the FBI tipline with any information relating to the events of October 25.
Community members in Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon, and Bowdoin, as well as elsewhere in Maine are reeling from the tragedy and the lockdown that is in place. Mainers are encouraged to check in with reputable sources to stay informed and not jump to the conclusion that rumors are true. Amjambo is posting in multiple languages.
Some community members in Lewiston gathered on a group call on October 26 and expressed solidarity with the victims, with each other, deep appreciation for law enforcement and hospital personnel, and above all love for their city. They shared resources and urged each other to follow the orders of law enforcement and stay indoors for as long as the manhunt and shelter in place order continues.
People on the call highlighted the importance of staying in touch with others by phone, to make sure people have adequate food, medicines, and other essentials – a shelter in place order means lost wages, and for those living on the edge, even one day without income is a major blow.
Amjambo has been talking to community members since early evening on October 25, including recent asylum seekers, who are sharing their shock at discovering the place they chose to live because of its reputation for safety is the location of the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. in 2023.
A recent arrival from Congo talked about being unable to stop trembling all over with fear. Another person worried about her children, who are terrified, and keep crying. Mental health experts urge that adults reassure their children by saying that adults are keeping them safe and that the police will find Robert Card and bring him to justice.
Some people may need mental health support during this tragic time and they are urged to reach out for help.
Maine Crisis Line:
Dial 711 or 1-888-568-1112
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Teen Text Line: The service connects youth with other youth to help them manage their challenges every day from noon to 10 p.m. Teens and young adults can text (207) 515-8398
Suicide and Behavioral Health Crisis hotline: The line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week by trained crisis specialists offering free, confidential support for anyone. Specialists also can respond by chat at 988lifeline.org. Information for the deaf and hard of hearing is available here.
The FrontLine WarmLine: This service offers free support services to help clinicians, educators, and first responders manage the stress of responding to disasters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Call 1-800-769-9819.