Cops were sent to Maine gunmans home weeks before massacres amid concern he is going to snap The Maine National Guard reached out to local law enforcement for a wellness check on a reservist who had previously shown signs of potential danger. This request came after a fellow soldier expressed concerns about the individual’s mental state, fearing they might engage in a mass shooting. On September 16, officers from the Sagadahoc County and Kennebec County Sheriff’s Offices attempted to make contact with the reservist, less than six weeks before the tragic events at a bowling alley and a bar.
The information disclosed to CNN outlines how the Sagadahoc County sergeant, responding to the call, sought assistance, attempted to engage with the reservist unsuccessfully, and received troubling information from both the Maine National Guard and the shooter’s family. The responding sergeant was informed that when the reservist answered the door at his trailer in the past, he typically did so while holding a concealed handgun, out of view from the person outside.
Furthermore, the responding officer received a letter from the National Guard, which indicated that a fellow guardsman had expressed apprehensions about the reservist potentially reaching a breaking point and carrying out a mass shooting. This report was filed in connection with the wellness check on the individual.
A 40-year-old individual carried out two shooting rampages in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night, resulting in the tragic deaths of 18 people at Just-in-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille.
The initial panic was followed by a harrowing 48-hour period of fear and lockdown. Finally, on Friday night, he was discovered about 10 miles away, having taken his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
CNN’s reporting has raised concerning questions about the apparent lack of follow-up measures to ensure that this man, who exhibited serious warning signs known to authorities, was not a continued threat. These details are now being revealed for the first time.
Maine has a “yellow flag” law in place, which offers a means to assess individuals with access to firearms who may pose a danger. The initial step involves law enforcement taking custody of someone believed to be dangerous and subsequently arranging for their evaluation by a medical professional. Following a diagnosis, a judge can then approve an order for the temporary removal of firearms, in accordance with the law.
A missing person’s report, File 6, was believed to have been initiated by the Sagadahoc sergeant who attempted to check on the individual. However, it remains uncertain if any action was taken regarding the shooter’s access to firearms. According to an inside source, the case appears to have been closed on October 1, which was 24 days prior to the tragic events.
CNN began to raise inquiries regarding the extent of information available to law enforcement agencies in the state concerning threats and the shooter’s mental health status on Thursday. When State Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sau Schuck was questioned about this matter, he declined to provide a direct response, stating, “I won’t comment.”
He went on to say, “Based on what I’ve observed, we will continue to investigate this issue.”
On Sunday, a spokesperson for the state police disclosed that their organization was responsible for leading the manhunt and homicide investigations but directed CNN to direct inquiries about what was previously known to Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry.
“The Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Maine State Police did not request a teletype on Robert Card before October 26. Furthermore, no bulletins or assistance were sought from the Maine State Police’s Maine Information and Analysis Center. It’s important to note that DPS does not possess regulatory authority over law enforcement agencies in Maine,” she stated, without providing further details.
CNN made attempts to contact Merry on Sunday, but was unsuccessful. A woman who answered the door at his residence indicated that he did not wish to speak.
CNN also reached out for comments regarding this story from the shooter’s family and the Maine National Guard, both of which were closely involved in the September efforts to check on the individual’s well-being. As of now, neither of them has responded.
Parking lot threats
Shortly after identifying the suspect as Robert Card, reports regarding his mental health challenges began to surface. According to information allegedly provided to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office by the Maine National Guard, Card spent a two-week period in a psychiatric hospital in July before his release. This hospitalization was instigated by an altercation with fellow soldiers in New York state that occurred in July.
The National Guard informed the Sagadahoc sheriff’s office that their reservist had started experiencing distressing auditory hallucinations during the spring, and these symptoms had been progressively worsening. On July 15, near West Point, Card and several other soldiers visited a convenience store to purchase beer. According to information disclosed to CNN, citing a National Guard communication, “In the parking lot, [he] accused three of them of labeling him a pedophile and threatened to address the situation.” The situation escalated when one of the soldiers, who had been a longtime friend of Card, confronted him, pushing him and demanding that he cease making such allegations.
According to information from a law enforcement source disclosed to CNN, they mentioned that they successfully reassured their fellow colleague, and together, they returned to their motel. However, upon reaching the motel, the individual retreated to his room, locking himself in, and remained unresponsive.
The following day, a different guardsman acquired the room key and made contact with him. The report quotes him as saying, “[He] instructed me to give him space and attempted to forcefully shut the door.” Subsequently, this guardsman transported the individual to a military base hospital, where a psychologist determined the necessity for extended treatment, resulting in a 14-day psychiatric hospitalization.
Punching a soldier
Following his release, there was a subsequent incident that prompted the Maine National Guard to request a well-being check. The individual, accompanied by a friend who was a soldier, was returning from a casino when he began discussing accusations of being a pedophile. This prompted his friend to advise him to cease the conversation due to its potential for legal trouble, as he was mentioning violence against people and places. In response, the individual physically assaulted his friend.
According to the National Guard statement provided to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, the friend reported that the individual had made threats involving firearms and mentioned intentions to target the drill center in Saco, as well as other locations. The friend expressed concerns about the individual’s mental state, fearing that he might reach a breaking point and carry out a mass shooting.
As a result of the threat against the National Guard facility in Saco, additional patrols were deployed, as confirmed by Saco Police Chief Jack Clements in an interview with WMTW Maine. However, the distressed guardsman did not appear at the designated location.
Sagadahoc County Sheriff Merry informed The New York Times that he had issued an alert to all law enforcement agencies in Maine in September, following the discovery of the threat to the Saco base.
CNN had not been able to independently verify that.
Merry told The Associated Press it was the Army Reserve who tipped him off to the possible danger.
An Army spokesperson told CNN Card’s unit had requested a health and welfare check from the sheriff’s office.
“In September, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s office responded to a health and welfare check requested by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Card’s unit out of an abundance of caution after the unit became concerned for his safety,” Lt. Col. Ruth Castro said. “The Army takes all allegations seriously. Due to an ongoing Army investigation, we cannot go into any further details.”
Investigators said the shooter already had the high-powered Ruger SFAR rifle later used in the killings by then, having bought it and a Beretta 92-F 9mm semi-automatic pistol earlier in July.
The brother informed the police that the family could ensure the weapons’ safety.
On September 16, when the Sagadahoc and Kennebec officers were dispatched to his residence, they failed to establish contact with the individual responsible for the incident. However, they promptly discovered information regarding his mental health issues and possession of firearms, as relayed by a law enforcement source to CNN.
Upon receiving no response from the reservist when they attempted to engage with him at his residence, the officers resorted to reaching out to individuals familiar with him.
The unit commander informed one officer that the man no longer had any weapons issued by the Guard, and his personal firearms had been collected by his brother as part of an arrangement.
Additionally, the commander suggested to the officer that it might be prudent to allow the man some time to himself.
The next day, a Sagadahoc officer engaged in a conversation with the shooter’s brother, who cautioned that the individual might be armed if he answered the door.
Subsequently, the officer was contacted by the brother, who assured him that, together with their father, they would take steps to prevent the man from accessing firearms. They had devised a plan to secure his weapons, as stated in a welfare check report.
The responding police officer conveyed the message that their primary objective was to ensure the safety of the man and prevent harm to himself or others. He also offered assistance in facilitating a mental health evaluation if required.
This interaction took place on September 17. Thirty-eight days later, the National Guard reservist entered a bowling alley and initiated a shooting spree. Tragically, victims included a 14-year-old boy enjoying time with his father and participants in a cornhole tournament for the deaf. Afterward, the assailant proceeded to a bar, taking more lives, including the manager who attempted to intervene.