Police block the road while investigators are on the scene at Schemengees Bar & Grille in Lewiston on Oct. 28. Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald

The two men agreed: Robert Card’s mental health was failing him, and his threats of committing a mass shooting should not be taken lightly.

But as they spoke on the phone on the morning of Sept. 16, Sgt. Aaron Skolfield of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and Army Reserve Captain Jeremy Reamer also reached a consensus on another point – confronting Card in his home could put police officers’ lives at risk.

“Obviously I don’t want you guys to get hurt or do anything that would push you guys in a compromising position,” Reamer’s voice says on the grainy video, one of two obtained this week by the Press Herald. “The only thing I would ask is if you could just document it. Just to say he was there, he was uncooperative, but we confirmed that he was alive and breathing. That’s kind of from our end here all we’re really looking for.”

In the two months since Card killed 18 people in a mass shooting in Lewiston, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office has come under scrutiny for failing to properly heed warnings from Card’s family and members of his Army Reserve unit about his declining mental health and pattern of violent threats.

Last week, the department released a 93-page document detailing a third-party review of its handling of the case. The report, which concluded that the sheriff’s office responded reasonably, included a detailed timeline of the warnings the department received and the steps it took to address them – including two visits to Card’s home in September when he did not answer his door.


A pair of police dashcam videos obtained this week in response to a Freedom of Access Act request show some of the conversations included in that review. The videos are some of the first footage related to the Lewiston shootings to be released by law enforcement.

The first video, which is largely blurred, shows the roadside near Card’s Bowdoin home around 11 a.m. on Sept. 16, shortly after Sgt. Skolfield says Card refused to answer his door. The footage includes audio from Skolfield’s call with Reamer, who was Card’s supervisor in the Saco-based Army Reserve unit. Reamer tells Skolfield that Card doesn’t have any National Guard issued weapons and that his brother Ryan “supposedly” removed Card’s guns.

The second video shows Skolfield attempting to contact Ryan Card at the home of Robert Card Sr. later that morning. Robert Card Sr. answers the door and says he doesn’t know whether anyone has taken his son’s guns.

According to the report, Skolfield was able to get in touch with Ryan Card the next day, and the pair agreed that Ryan Card and his father would secure his brother’s guns.



Days after the shootings, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office began sharing what they knew about Card and why they failed to disarm him. According to police reports, the department first received warnings about Card in May, when his son and ex-wife reported that he was hearing voices and acting angry and paranoid. Deputies passed the warnings on to leaders in Card’s Army Reserve unit, who said they’d try to get him to talk about how he was doing.

In September, two months after Card’s erratic behavior landed him in a New York psychiatric hospital for two weeks, unit leaders told deputies that Card had assaulted one of his friends and had threatened to shoot up the drill center in Saco and other locations.

Skolfield attempted to conduct a welfare check on Card on the afternoon of Sept. 15, according to a detailed timeline in the third-party review published last week. He declined a dispatcher’s offer for backup, noting that he was one of only two deputies currently on duty. He arrived to find an empty home.

When he returned the next morning, Skolfield thought he heard Card moving around inside, but no one answered his knocks. He told Reamer on the phone that there was no way to approach the home without offering Card a line of sight through the window’s curtains.

While Reamer warned Skolfield to be careful, he also questioned the credibility of the threats, which one of Card’s friends had reported through a series of late-night texts.

“I don’t know what the validity of the text message is,” he says in the video. “When anyone texts anything like that, we obviously need to take it very seriously but also taking it with a grain of salt as well.”


Skolfield briefly mentions Maine’s yellow flag law, which allows police to temporarily confiscate weapons from those deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

The sheriff’s office never attempted to use the law, a decision that has been questioned in the wake of the mass shooting. However, both Sagadahoc Sheriff Joel Merry and the author of the independent review say deputies never had the chance to use the law because they never succeeded in taking Card into protective custody. On Oct. 15, 30 days after the department put out its initial alert to other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout, Skolfield authorized the cancellation of the alert rather than extending it.

Less than two weeks later, Card carried out the worst mass shooting in Maine history.


Other agencies have been much slower than the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office to complete and release their internal investigations of the Lewiston shootings.

Two weeks after the massacre, Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order creating an independent commission tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding the shootings. The group, which includes several former judges and prosecutors, as well as a forensic psychologist and a psychiatrist, said in November that it plans to release its findings within six months. Its members unanimously voted to ask the Legislature for the power to issue subpoenas. Lawmakers are expected to consider that proposal in January.


Last week, Maine’s congressional delegation announced that the U.S. Army Inspector General would conduct an independent investigation of the events in Lewiston.

Both the Army and state police have regularly refused to answer questions about the shootings, citing their pending investigations.

Aftershocks from the events in Lewiston will continue to produce headlines in 2024 and beyond, as legislators take up a slate of gun safety bills and lawyers for the families of victims explore potential litigation against the Army, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, and the gunmakers who manufactured Card’s weapons.

While family members of shooting victims and survivors have shared their stories from Oct. 25, the Card family has largely avoided public attention.

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