United States: at least 22 dead in a shooting in Maine, the gunman actively sought
Steph Deschamps / October 26, 2023
A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening in a bowling alley and bar-restaurant in a northeastern U.S. city, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 50 others, according to the authorities, who released a photo of a man still at large.
According to the American media, it was "carnage". On Wednesday evening, a man opened fire in a bowling alley and bar-restaurant in Lewiston, the second largest city in the northeastern U.S. state of Maine. According to a provisional death toll, the shooting left 22 people dead and around 50 wounded, including teenagers, according to Robert McCarthy, an elected official in Lewiston, which has a population of over 36,000. According to the authorities, who released a photo of a man still at large, the population was instructed to remain confined in the face of the danger posed by the "armed and dangerous" man.
Lewiston police said they were trying to locate the suspected gunman, identified as Robert Card, 40, whose motives were unknown. Photographs showing a man, dressed in a brown top and dark blue pants, armed with a semi-automatic rifle which he had shouldered had been released earlier by Androscoggin County police. His white car was found in Lisbon, some 10 km from Lewiston. Authorities decided to close schools for the day.
According to CNN, citing law enforcement sources, Robert Card was a certified firearms instructor and army reservist. Around 100 police officers have been mobilized to search for him.
According to local police, the shootings took place in at least two different locations, a bowling alley and a bar-restaurant. The Boston FBI, the federal police, also said they were involved in the investigation. Another shooting is believed to have taken place in the logistics center of a Walmart supermarket, according to several US media outlets.
Authorities have opened a center for families still searching for loved ones or wishing to report information they may have about the shooting.
U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed on the events and spoke with several Maine elected officials, including Governor Janet Mills, offering any federal support needed, according to the White House. "This is an overwhelming situation. We've never experienced anything like this," Cynthia Hunter, who has lived in Lewiston since 2012, testified on local television. Public schools will be closed on Thursday, a school district official said on X (formerly Twitter).
I am horrified by what happened in Lewiston tonight," said Maine elected official Jared Golden in a statement. The United States pays a very heavy price for the spread of firearms on its territory and the ease with which Americans have access to them. The country has more individual guns than inhabitants: one adult in three owns at least one gun, and nearly one adult in two lives in a home with a gun.
The consequence of this proliferation is a very high death rate from firearms in the United States, without comparison with other developed countries.
Excluding suicides, more than 15,000 people have died in gun violence in the country since the beginning of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). Indeed, recent American history is littered with killings, with no place in daily life seemingly immune, from businesses to churches, supermarkets to nightclubs, public thoroughfares to public transport. But despite the mobilization of over a million demonstrators, the U.S. Congress has failed to pass any ambitious legislation, with many elected officials under the influence of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), America's leading gun lobby.
Indeed, in a country where the ability to own a firearm is considered by millions of Americans to be a fundamental constitutional right, the only recent legislative advances remain marginal, such as the generalization of criminal and psychiatric background checks prior to any gun purchase.