A multi-agency law enforcement effort is underway as the search continues for the suspect in a deadly mass shooting Wednesday in Lewiston, Maine.
Robert Card, 40, who Maine State Police describe as a trained firearms instructor and Army Reservist, is accused of opening fire Wednesday at a bowling alley and restaurant, killing 18 and injuring over a dozen more. Identities of the victims have yet to be released.
Police say Card is still on the loose. Massachusetts State Police are supporting law enforcement agencies in Maine in the effort to apprehend the suspect.
“Massachusetts State Police Colonel John Mawn has been in contact with his counterparts from Maine and the other New England states to assess and coordinate capabilities for providing mutual aid to the Maine State Police. The full complement of Massachusetts State Police assets stand ready for deployment if requested, as necessitated by the evolving investigation and fugitive apprehension mission,” according to police.
Is the suspected shooter in Massachusetts?
Speculation about the whereabouts of the suspect has been fueled by social media.
Addressing rumors that the suspect has ties to Massachusetts and is currently in the area, state police said they are not aware of any confirmed reports that Card crossed into Massachusetts. They said that a Be On the LookOut [BOLO] alert was sent to officers in Massachusetts after a civilian driver in New Hampshire reported seeing someone who resembled Card, but that “any connection of that vehicle to Card is unsubstantiated.”
“We continue to monitor all available intelligence and will update our local law enforcement partners and the public of any developments that affect our state,” Massachusetts State Police said in a statement.
Any activity in the search for Card on this side of the border is being carried out by state police.
But GBH News reached out to police departments in Amesbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and other municipalities along the I-95 corridor near the New Hampshire border to ask how they are responding to the situation. None of the departments have issued a shelter in place advisory, but local police have stepped up patrols and are encouraging residents to remain vigilant, according to a spokesperson for the departments.
Methuen Police Chief Scott McNamara stationed uniformed police officers outside of that city’s schools today “to give parents and staff a sense of security,” according to a spokesman. McNamara also advised residents that if they "see something, say something."
Coordinated efforts with the FBI
Federal law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts have also been activated.
“The FBI Boston Division continues to coordinate with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in Maine and we stand ready to assist with any available resources they need, including evidence response, investigative and tactical support, as well as victim assistance,” the division said in a statement. “We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”
Healey says Massachusetts ‘will step forward’ to help
At the Massachusetts State House on Thursday, Gov. Maura Healey called the situation "incredibly unnerving." She told Maine Gov. Janet Mills that Massachusetts is also willing to provide human services support like grief counselors.
"I know the people of Massachusetts will step forward and support the great people of Maine and of Lewiston at this time," Healey said.
Multiple chapters of aid organizations in Massachusetts, including the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, tell GBH News they’re on standby and coordinating with their Maine counterparts to help as needed.
Healey said she ordered flags be flown at half-mast in solidarity with the people of Maine and in memory of the lives lost. She said many people in Massachusetts have Maine connections.
"We just need to step up and show our solidarity in terms of comfort and in terms of support in this time and in the weeks and in the months ahead," she added
Kana Ruhalter contributed reporting.