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The suspect in Maine is still at large after 2 mass shootings killed 18 people

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

When communities suffer trauma, they often come together sharing their grief. That's not possible right now in Lewiston, Maine, the scene of America's latest mass shooting.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Yeah. The suspect, Robert Card, is still on the loose, so the community is locked down, sheltering in place. Last night, people held a vigil online for 18 neighbors killed and 13 wounded. Reverend Jane Field with the Maine Council of Churches offered a prayer.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JANE FIELD: Be especially with those in lockdown tonight who are afraid, who may be alone, and plant in them the seed of hope.

FADEL: NPR's Brian Mann is in Lewiston and joins us now. Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila.

FADEL: So last night, there was real hope that the suspect in this shooting, Robert Card, would be captured. What happened?

MANN: Yeah. Police believe that Card, who's 40 years old, is the man who allegedly opened fire at a bowling alley and bar Wednesday night. He's been on the run ever since. So around 7 p.m. last night, a huge force of police served a search warrant at a rundown farmhouse in Bowdoin, about 15 miles outside Lewiston. They were being really cautious, Leila, shouting over bullhorns for anyone inside the house to come out. A helicopter circled overhead. In the end, no arrests were made. It was apparently another false lead.

FADEL: Yeah, I was texting with a friend five miles from that house, and I know she feels like, how long will this go on? I mean, what does the lockdown there look and feel like for people?

MANN: Yeah. This community is frozen. Heading into the holiday Halloween weekend, stores and restaurants are closed. Schools are shuttered, streets mostly empty. Maine Governor Janet Mills talked yesterday, urging people to be really cautious.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JANET MILLS: But Mr. Card is considered armed and dangerous. Maine people should not approach him under any circumstances. Please, if you see anything suspicious, please call 911.

MANN: And NPR has learned that Card is an Army reservist. Last summer, he was at a National Guard training facility in New York when officials there became concerned about erratic behavior. They called police and transported him to a hospital for evaluation. What we don't know is how he then wound up back home here in Lewiston, heavily armed.

FADEL: Now, the issue of gun control has come up. It came up yesterday. It was raised by one of Maine's congressman, Jared Golden. What did he say?

MANN: Yeah, this was interesting. Golden's a Democrat who lives here in Lewiston. He's long opposed many kinds of gun control, including a ban on firearms with military or assault-type features. But speaking yesterday afternoon after this mass shooting in his own town, he said he's changed his mind.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JARED GOLDEN: I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war, like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime. To the people of Lewiston, I ask for forgiveness and support as I seek to put an end to these terrible shootings.

MANN: And President Biden also renewed his call this week for a ban on assault-style weapons. But that kind of legislation has been stalled in Congress for years.

FADEL: And this isn't over. The search for Robert Card continues. I mean, where does this go? I mean, I'm sure people are wondering when are they going to get him?

MANN: Yeah, yeah, there's a huge effort on the ground here - local, state, federal authorities. FBI Special Agent Jodi Cohen spoke yesterday about this, asking the public for patience.

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JODI COHEN: We will work day and night alongside our law enforcement partners to get the answers to the questions this community deserves.

MANN: The question, of course, is now where is Robert Card, and with his troubled history, how did he still have access to these powerful firearms? Eighteen people dead, Leila, and so far, there just aren't good answers.

FADEL: NPR's Brian Mann in Lewiston, Maine, this morning. Thank you for your reporting, Brian.

MANN: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.