Police, including FBI members, gather around multiple SWAT armored vehicles on West Road in Bowdoin on Thursday near the residence of Robert Card. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald

The shootings in Lewiston this week marked the 36th mass killing in the U.S. this year, and the majority of them involved suspects who were quickly found, either dead or alive.

Though authorities found the body of the suspected gunman, 40-year-old Robert Card, in Lisbon Friday night, the hunt had gone on longer than in most mass shooting cases.

An armed man whom police later identified as Robert Card points a gun Wednesday night while entering Just-In-Time Recreation in Lewiston. Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office

The deaths in Lewiston weren’t the only mass killings to occur Wednesday. Five people were found dead in a North Carolina home that day, and authorities as of Friday had not identified a suspect in that case.

In most of the other mass killings — defined as an occurrence when four or more people are slain, not including the assailant — the suspect was either quickly apprehended or laid dead among the victims.

One exception was Sept. 17 in Romeoville, Illinois, where five people were killed. The suspect was found dead three days later.

But in the case of five members of a family killed Aug. 24 in Lake Township, Ohio, authorities said it was a quadruple murder-suicide. A week earlier five people were killed in Oklahoma City and investigators said that, too, involved a gunman who took his own life.


The person believed to have killed four people on July 15 in Hampton, Georgia, died in a shootout with police a day later. Suspects who authorities say were responsible for killing four in Shreveport, Louisiana, on the Fourth of July are still being sought, but a shooting a day earlier in Philadelphia in which five died resulted in a suspect being arrested the same day.

Two earlier mass killings — six dead July 2 in South Carolina and another four killed June 18 in Idaho — led to the arrest of suspects the same day.

Five were killed June 15 in Sequatchie, Tennessee, and that was found to be a murder-suicide.

The only other mass casualty event in the U.S. this year involving more than 10 people killed was 11 who died Jan. 21 at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California. The suspect in that shooting was found dead hours later from a self-inflicted gunshot.

The search in Maine for Card involved more than 350 state and federal law enforcement officials looking for him by land, air and sea. 

The search for Card was complicated by landscape and geography of central Maine, which in places is heavily forested and hilly. Around Lewiston and Bowdoin, where Card grew up and his family still lives, the landscape is varied, with residential areas as well as farms and fields and stretches of heavily wooded areas, where many trees have not yet dropped their leaves. Those wooded areas are crisscrossed with snowmobile trails and logging trails and woods that no one has traversed in years.


A helicopter flies low searching the Androscoggin River in Lisbon as the search for mass shooting suspect Robert Card continues on Friday. Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald

The region is also marked with lakes and ponds, as well as rivers, which were the focus of Friday’s search by law enforcement officials; Card’s vehicle was found at a boat ramp on the Androscoggin River in Lisbon.

J. Darrell Ouellette is an associate professor of criminal justice and public safety at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and served 33 years with Maine State Police before retiring in 2010 as a lieutenant commander. He said the search can be slowed by the dangerous nature of the person authorities are seeking; Card is a military reservist skilled in handling firearms. Searchers must travel in teams and anytime a home or structure is searched then a tactical team must be assembled before entering, Ouellette said.

“Police have to move very carefully and have to move in teams,” he said.

The search for Card ws reminiscent of the four-day manhunt in April 2018 for John D. Williams in Somerset County. Williams fatally shot sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole and stole his patrol vehicle. What followed was a sprawling, frantic manhunt involving an estimated 200 police officers, sheriff’s deputies and game wardens from across Maine and from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as federal agents from the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Border Patrol; and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Williams was found hiding in a remote cabin and was convicted in Cole’s death a year later. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The longest manhunt in state history — 68 days — occurred in 2015 and involved the search for Robert Burton, who was wanted in the death of his former girlfriend in Parkman, in Piscataquis County. The search concluded when Burton walked into the county jail in Dover-Foxcroft and surrendered. He was sentenced in 2017 to 55 years in prison.

The search for Burton was the most expensive manhunt in state history, costing state police about $500,000.

Maine Shooting

A member of law enforcement walks with a police dog outside a property on Meadow Road in Bowdoin on Thursday. Hundreds of heavily armed police and FBI agents searched intensely for Robert Card, an Army reservist authorities say fatally shot a number of people at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston on Wednesday. Steven Senne/AP Photo

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