December 7, 2023

A sheriff in Maine says he despatched an alert to all regulation enforcement businesses within the state final month after studying that an Military reservist had made threats towards his base, a notification that got here weeks earlier than the reservist fatally shot 18 folks in America’s deadliest mass capturing this yr.

Sheriff Joel Merry of Sagadahoc County mentioned he despatched the alert someday in September in an effort to seek out the reservist, Robert R. Card II, 40, who was mentioned to have made threats concerning the Military Reserve middle in Saco, Maine. He mentioned he despatched a deputy to Mr. Card’s house however that the deputy didn’t discover him there, prompting the sheriff to ship out the discover.

The revelation is the strongest signal but that regulation enforcement was conscious that Mr. Card was a possible hazard earlier than he carried out a rampage at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston on Wednesday evening.

“The fellows, from what I do know, paid due diligence to this and did try to find Mr. Card they usually couldn’t,” Sheriff Merry mentioned in an interview on Saturday evening.

The Maine Division of Public Security, which had led a two-day manhunt for Mr. Card earlier than he was discovered lifeless in a trailer at a recycling plant on Friday evening, didn’t reply to requests for remark. The Related Press first reported on the sheriff’s alert.

Sheriff Merry declined to remark intimately in regards to the reported threats, and it was unclear whether or not another departments that obtained the sheriff’s alert had tried to find Mr. Card. It was not instantly clear how usually such alerts are issued; two regulation enforcement leaders in Maine mentioned on Saturday that they obtain many and didn’t recall receiving the alert about Mr. Card.

The Military’s public affairs workplace within the Pentagon didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Saturday evening. Mr. Card enlisted within the Reserve in 2002 and was educated as a petroleum provide specialist, whose work concerned transport and storing gas; he didn’t serve on any fight deployments.

Earlier on Saturday, the commissioner of the general public security division mentioned that Mr. Card had been paranoid and will have been listening to voices. The commissioner, Michael J. Sauschuck, instructed that Mr. Card had most probably been to the bowling alley and bar earlier than, and will have carried out the assault partly as a result of he falsely believed that “folks have been speaking about him.”

“There’s paranoia, there’s some conspiracy theorist piece,” Mr. Sauschuck mentioned.

Throughout a latest go to to a Nationwide Guard coaching facility exterior Peekskill, N.Y., Mr. Card had a run-in with officers and was later evaluated at a psychological well being facility, in response to a senior regulation enforcement official. Mr. Sauschuck mentioned he had no data to counsel that Mr. Card had ever been forcibly dedicated for psychological well being therapy.

Mr. Card had legally bought a number of weapons, together with some days earlier than the assault, in response to Jim Ferguson, the particular agent accountable for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ discipline division in Boston.

In Maine, officers should search a medical skilled’s opinion with a purpose to take weapons away from people who find themselves struggling psychological difficulties and are thought-about a hazard to themselves or others. That’s extra stringent than some states with so-called pink flag legal guidelines that enable the police or the general public to petition for the momentary removing of an individual’s weapons.

Following the shootings, Mr. Card fled towards the Androscoggin River, the police mentioned, abandoning his automobile a couple of 15-minute drive from the bar that he had simply attacked. A two-day manhunt adopted, with the state issuing a shelter-in-place order affecting 1000’s of residents.

Throughout that point, the police twice searched a recycling plant the place Mr. Card had beforehand labored, close to the place he deserted his automobile. However they didn’t notice {that a} grime lot throughout the road that held dozens of trailers was a part of the property. Once they searched the trailers, they discovered him inside one, lifeless from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Along with the 18 folks killed, 13 have been wounded. Three stay in essential situation.

Shaila Dewan, John Ismay, Serge F. Kovaleski and Amelia Nierenberg contributed reporting. Jack Begg contributed analysis.

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