Members of the commission investigating the Lewiston mass shooting listen to testimony from Capt. Jeremy Reamer, of the Army Reserve in Saco, on April 11 in Augusta. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Family members of the man who killed 18 people in Lewiston last October will speak publicly Thursday, testifying before the commission investigating the mass shooting.

Robert Card’s family members and an official from the Army Reserve’s Psychological Health Program are scheduled to speak at this week’s hearing at the University of Maine at Augusta, according to a spokesperson for the commission. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at UMA’s Jewett Auditorium and will be livestreamed on Zoom.

After news first broke of the shooting at Just-In-Time Recreation on Oct. 25, at least one member of Card’s family called police to say the gunman in the image circulated by officials was Robert Card. Tuesday’s announcement did not specify which members of the Card family will appear.

It is highly unusual for family members of mass shooters to speak publicly about their experiences. With few exceptions, the Card family has declined to answer questions from the media since the shooting.

But police reports, court documents and other testimony given before the commission suggest the Cards were aware of Robert Card’s declining mental health for almost a year before the shooting and tried several times to get him help from authorities.

In May 2023, Card’s son Colby and Card’s ex-wife, Cara, told a Sagadahoc deputy that Card had been acting paranoid for months. They said he seemed to be hearing insults from voices that didn’t seem to be there. He would grow angry and attribute the voices to the people around him – first strangers, then eventually Colby Card, according to Sagadahoc police reports the department released to the public after the shooting.


Other family members, including Card’s brother Ryan, later told police that the strange behavior began around the time that Card went through a bad breakup and grew worse after he bought hearing aids in February 2023.

After the Cards said they thought Robert Card would react badly to a police visit, a Sagadahoc deputy agreed to reach out to the leaders of Card’s Army Reserve Unit in Saco. Sgt. Kelvin Mote, who is also an Ellsworth police officer, said Card had been accusing members of the unit of calling him a pedophile. Mote agreed to sit down with Card and evaluate him at the unit’s next drill weekend later in May 2023, according to the Sagadahoc report, but that meeting never took place.

Three months later, after Card was released from a New York psychiatric hospital following an involuntary two-week commitment, Ryan Card reached out to another Army leader, Staff Sgt. Ed Yurek, and complained that his brother’s condition had not improved in the hospital. Yurek later told the commission that he trusted the doctor’s professional judgment over Ryan Card’s.

It remains unclear why Card was released from the hospital in August or who was responsible for making that decision.

In September, after Card punched a friend in the face and made threats against the Saco Army base, Sagadahoc Deputy Aaron Skolfield attempted to perform a wellness check on Card at the request of his Army leaders. After Card refused to open the door of his home for police, Skolfield reached out to Ryan Card and asked him to secure his brother’s guns and to reach out if he thought he needed help.

In an interim report released in March, the commission excoriated Skolfield for placing too much responsibility on the Card family, calling the decision “an abdication of law enforcement’s responsibility.”


Thursday’s other speaker could shed light on an aspect of the case that largely remains mysterious even after 10 public commission hearings: what exactly the Army did to monitor Card after his release from the hospital, and whether its actions – or inaction – violated any Army policies.

At a tense hearing last month, commission members referenced several medical records and communications between doctors and Card’s Army leaders about his treatment and diagnosis.

Capt. Jeremy Reamer was supposed to ensure that Card followed his treatment plan and that someone found a way to secure the many guns at his home, according to documents referenced by the commission. But Reamer admitted he did not do anything to follow up with Card, both because an issue with his email account prevented him from seeing some of the messages from Army medical staff and because he had limited authority over Card except on the Reserve unit’s drill weekends.

It’s unclear what steps Army medical staff took to check on Card other than to send multiple messages to Card and Reamer reminding Card to submit to an evaluation.

The Army is currently conducting its own internal review of its handling of Card.

This story is part of an ongoing collaboration with FRONTLINE (PBS) and Maine Public that includes an upcoming documentary. It is supported through FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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