Schemengees Bar and Grille in Lewiston at dusk on Oct. 26, when law enforcement officials were conducting a manhunt for Robert Card, the gunman who carried out the state’s worst mass shooting a day earlier. Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald

The U.S. Army Inspector General will conduct an independent investigation into the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine’s congressional delegation said Friday.

It’s the latest in a series of investigations into the deadliest shooting in state history, one that left 18 people dead, 13 more injured and added Lewiston to a growing list of U.S. communities dealing with the aftermath of senseless gun violence.

Gabe Camarillo, under secretary of the Army, delivered the news in a letter sent to Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, who have been calling for a formal investigation into the events surrounding the rampage by Robert Card, of Bowdoin.

“The Army is committed to diligently investigating all facts and events related to the Army involving SFC Card in the months and days before he committed these heinous acts,” Camarillo wrote. “The Secretary of the Army has requested the Army Inspector General to conduct an independent investigation to ensure that the Army takes corrective actions where appropriate. In response, the Army IG has instructed her team to immediately begin preparing to conduct this investigation.”

Card, 40, entered two businesses in Lewiston – Just-In-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille – the night of Oct. 25 and shot and killed 18 people before taking his own life. His body was found in a recycling trailer in Lisbon two days later. Police recovered a semiautomatic Ruger AR-10 style rifle from Card’s vehicle, along with a Smith & Wesson handgun and a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style rifle near his body.

Months before the shootings, family members and members of Card’s Army Reserve unit expressed concern about a shift in his behavior and feared that he might act out violently.


Collins and King first sent a letter on Nov. 2 requesting an independent investigation, and last week, all four members followed up with a second request.

Heidi Patrie, right, gives a hug to a friend at a vigil on Oct. 28, in honor of the victims of the mass shootings in Lewiston. Patrie said her kids are very close with Joshua Seal’s children. Seal, who was a husband, father and a well-known American Sign Language interpreter in Maine, was one of the 18 people who lost their lives on Oct. 25. Brianna Soukup/Press Herald

“We are pleased that the Inspector General of the Army has responded to our requests and has begun preparations to conduct an independent investigation into the events preceding the Lewiston shooting,” the Maine delegation said in a joint statement. “A thorough investigation into what happened, and what could have been done differently, could help prevent future shootings. This independent review by the Army Inspector General will be an important part of understanding the events that took place before that horrific night. The survivors, families affected and members of the surrounding communities deserve nothing less.”

Victims’ families also have been asking the Army to conduct a more thorough look into Card, specifically related to his service in a Saco-based Army Reserve unit that regularly conducted training in New York. Previously, Army officials have said that an internal review would be conducted.

“We are appreciative of the delegation’s efforts to ensure that the Army Inspector General opens a formal and independent investigation,” said Travis Brennan, an attorney with Berman and Simmons, a firm that represents several victims’ families. “The victims and families believe this is an important step toward gathering critical information and we are hopeful that it will help to answer important questions and lead to change.”

Card was a longtime member of the 3rd Battalion, 304th Regiment, which is based in Saco but regularly trains cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Many members of that unit also are police officers across Maine.

This summer, while Card was training with the unit, he spent two weeks at a psychiatric hospital in New York at the urging of superiors who said he had been hearing voices and having psychotic episodes. In September, a month after his release from the hospital, members of the unit contacted local law enforcement about conducting a welfare check on Card, who they feared would carry out an act of violence.



Sagadahoc County deputies visited Card’s residence on Sept. 15 and 16. After the first visit, when Card was not home, the sheriff’s office sent a File 6 – an attempt to locate teletype – to other law enforcement agencies. Card’s car was located at his residence when deputies visited Sept. 16, but no one answered the door. The deputy called for backup from a Kennebec County sheriff’s deputy, and the two “attempted contact with Card without success.”

“Card could be heard moving around inside the trailer but would not answer the door,” the police report said. “Due to being in a very disadvantageous position we decided to back away.”

On Thursday, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office released a 93-page report that detailed an independent review about how deputies handled their involvement with Card. The report concluded that deputies who tried to contact Card “responded reasonably under the circumstances at the time.”

‘The review has found that responding deputies followed the law and their training with the information available at the time,” Sheriff Joel Merry said in a statement. “We also understand that there are additional reviews underway of the mass shootings and our office will cooperate fully.’

That report did, however, suggest that other members of Card’s reserve unit downplayed the seriousness of his threats.

Also this week, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner said that it has sent brain tissue from Card to a lab in Boston University that studies chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. As part of his training, Card spent a significant amount of time teaching cadets how to throw grenades and some in Card’s unit wondered if close proximity to repeated blasts might have injured his brain. Several months before the shootings – around the same time family members began to notice a change in his behavior – Card had been fitted for hearing aids.

In addition to the investigation by the Army Inspector General, Gov. Janet Mills has convened an independent commission to examine the facts surrounding both the shooting and the events that preceded it. The seven-member commission has met twice so far.

One big question that has emerged in the shooting’s aftermath is why Maine’s yellow flag law wasn’t used to seize Card’s firearms. Army officials have said they seized any military-issue weapons following his release from the hospital, but he still had many guns at home.

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