THE Maine State Police A manhunt is underway for a U.S. Army reservist who allegedly killed 18 people and wounded 13 others in a shooting rampage at a Lewiston bowling alley and bar Wednesday night.

Authorities are combing southern Maine and have issued an arrest warrant for the main suspect, Robert R. Card, who was reportedly hospitalized last summer. They also released photos of a bearded man wearing a brown sweater and jeans, armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

Public schools were closed today and police advised residents to stay indoors.

“This is a dark day for Maine,” Gov. Janet Mills said at a news conference. “Card is considered armed and dangerous and police are advising members of the public not to approach him for any reason,” he added.

State police located a white SUV Card is believed to have driven to the town of Lisbon, about 7 miles southeast of Lewiston. Early in the morning, residents of Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdin – where Card is listed as living – were called to stay indoors.

The morning was eerily quiet in Lewiston and Lisbon, as almost no cars were on the streets and few residents ventured out. Many shops in the center of these cities remained closed.

According to a law enforcement release, Card, 40, was a weapons instructor at the Seiko base in Maine. He recently reportedly said he was hearing voices and experiencing other psychiatric issues. He had threatened to open fire on the base and was hospitalized for two weeks over the summer before being released, the Maine Intelligence and Analysis Center, a unit of the state police, said.

But the military said Card, who enlisted in 2002 and held the rank of sergeant, was an oil supply specialist and had never served overseas.

The attacks began just before 7pm on Wednesday (local time) at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, where the gunman shot and killed the owner and six men, whose identities have not been released. A short time later, police were informed of shots fired at the Schemengees bar-restaurant, about 5 kilometers away. Seven men were killed there, while three other customers were taken to hospitals with serious injuries and later succumbed.

“Within a second the ups and downs came, for no reason. How do we make sense out of all this?’ the Schemengees Facebook page said today.

“None of this feels real, but it is. We lost wonderful and big hearted people in our community last night. There are no words,” Just-In-Time said in its own post.

Jessica Karcher said one of the injured is her son, Justin, who was shot in the spine and kidney and underwent surgery. Justin had seen his father, Gene Karcher, killed in 2019 when he was shot in a department store parking lot after an argument, the Lewiston Sun newspaper reported.

Lewiston is 56 kilometers north of Portland, Maine’s largest city. It has 38,000 inhabitants and was once the “heart” of the local textile industry.

Maine’s gun laws are relatively lax. In this rural state on Canada’s northeastern border, about half of adults live in a household that owns at least one gun, according to a 2020 RAND Corporation study. Authorities do not require a permit to buy or carry gun, and other states’ regulations that allow law enforcement officers to temporarily disarm those they deem a “danger” to public safety do not apply.

US President Joe Biden spoke with state officials and offered the support of federal authorities. He also ordered flags to be flown at half-mast until Monday, in memory of the victims.

The number of mass murders – with four or more victims – has skyrocketed in the US since the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, there were 647 such attacks, and this year, based on the July trend, it was projected to reach 679. The deadliest attack in modern US history is the massacre of 58 people by a gunman who opened fire on music festival goers from a high-rise building. hotel in las vegas.