On the third day following a mass shooting in Lewiston that killed 18 and injured 13 more, police focused their search for the suspect, Robert R. Card II of Bowdoin, along and in the Androscoggin River.
Since Wednesday evening, local, state and federal law enforcement have descended on Maine’s second largest city and towns in the surrounding area following the mass shooting at Just-In-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant.
During a press conference Friday morning, Mike Sauschuck, Maine Department of Public Safety commissioner, said law enforcement would be searching the river using divers and sonar around the boat launch at Miller Park in Lisbon where Card’s vehicle was found. That would likely involve using dams to slow the river’s current to make it easier for divers to work.
“We want to bring this individual to custody, but we’ve got to do it right,” Sauschuck said.
Aircraft were flying overhead Friday to search the Androscoggin River as well, though Sauschuck said police don’t necessarily believe Card is in the river.
Police are also continuing to work “around the clock” to search the two shooting locations in Lewiston, as they need to investigate every bullet that was fired, Sauschuck said.
“I would suspect that we are days away from completing those investigations and crime scenes,” Sauschuck said.
That work is happening while law enforcement continues to comb through the more than 530 tips that have poured in from community members.
Throughout Friday, officers checked multiple places within the vicinity of the river. Just after 3:30 p.m., about half a dozen police were at a dam in Lisbon Falls. Two were in a small motor boat in the water, armed with long poles they plunged deep into the water to move leaves and other material caught in front of two grates on the dam.
From on top of the dam, more officers used poles to clear the material. At one point, the two in the boat tied a rope around something and attempted to pull it out. Smoke drifted up from the strained boat engine. No one was available to explain what the officers were looking for, but by 4:30 p.m. the material appeared to be only sticks.
Their efforts followed a search along Peter Vier Road in Durham where some of Card’s family members own property. Around 12:30 p.m., more than a dozen heavily armed law enforcement officers huddled in a group on the road and then moved into the woods, out of view of reporters.
Prior to Durham, police had surrounded a greenhouse off Route 196 in Lisbon, while a helicopter flew overhead and an armored vehicle drove by. A man told reporters he had heard a gunshot, but Lisbon police Chief Ryan McGee later said police had searched and found nothing.
At the boat launch at Miller Park in Lisbon earlier in the morning, a Lisbon police officer blocked the area to everyone but other officers who were showing up by the minute.
Across the road from St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Lisbon Falls nearby, a group of about 16 police officers from multiple agencies and armed with long rifles walked down a paved path toward the Androscoggin River. An unidentified boat took off.
McGee, who slept in his office Thursday night for three hours and had not gone home, said his 17 officers were working around the clock to help find Card.
“We’re going to put all the resources we have at any tip that we can,” McGee said.
In Lisbon Falls, Katie Rines stood outside Smokey Falls, a medical marijuana store. She said she felt safe to leave her home and place of business with all the police activity that has upended the small town where she grew up.
Rines said she knew Maxx Hathaway, one of the 18 people killed. She was at her home in Lisbon when the news broke. It was surreal, she said, as she sat on her porch with all her lights off as she watched scores of law enforcement vehicles stream down her road toward the boat launch where police located the car authorities believe Card had been driving.
“It just didn’t feel real at the moment,” Rines said
Over the last three days, she said she’s struggled with how to explain what is happening to her kids, who are 13 and 4.
As the sun rose on Friday morning, over the top of the small, weathered-looking Card family home on Meadow Road in Bowdoin, the only sound was cows in the surrounding farmlands mooing while a tractor made its rounds in a field nearby. A reporter saw just one unmarked police car at the intersection of Burrough and Meadow roads at 8 a.m.
Outside of Card’s parents’ home, people were at work setting up traffic cones in the driveway and hammering in signs to fences and posts that said, “No trespassing” and “posted.”
This marked a stark contrast to Thursday night when police had surrounded a Card family home on Meadow Road, called “We know you’re inside” and ordered Card to come out with his hands up, while a helicopter flew overhead.
Police did not know whether Card was in that home or others being searched Thursday, and police officers’ language was part of “standard search warrant announcements,” said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss.
People can send tips to fbi.gov/LewistonTips.