A man who witnessed the deadly mass shooting in Maine has come forward to tell his story of survival after a gunman opened fire at Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation in Lewiston, Maine, on Oct. 25.
The bowler, identified as Brandon, ran down one of the lanes, slid into the area holding the pins and climbed up the machinery to hide. At first, he thought it was a balloon popping, but after hearing 10 loud pops, he realized it wasn’t. “I had my back turned to the door,” Brandon said. “And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon – he was holding a weapon – I just booked it.”
The survivor said he was putting on his bowling shoes when the shooting started and never finished.
“I’ve been barefoot for five hours,” he said. Brandon is one of many survivors who were transported to a middle school in Auburn nearby to be reunited with family and friends.
The suspect has been identified as Robert Card, a firearms instructor and believed to be in the Army Reserve, assigned to a training facility in Saco, Maine. According to CBS News, Card was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in summer 2023. While the details of his condition haven’t been revealed, Card reportedly was “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” the military base.
Two photos of the suspect were posted on the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, showing the suspect entering one of the target destinations with a weapon raised to his shoulder.
Card has yet to be apprehended; law enforcement has prompted residents to stay inside. Schools and municipal offices in Lewiston will remain closed on Oct. 26. State and federal officers have issued statements regarding the incident, including President Joe Biden, who spoke to Gov. Janet Mills on the phone offering “full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack,” according to a White House statement.
This marks the 36th mass killing in the United States in 2023. Maine’s state laws don’t require permits to carry guns, with the state having a reputation for gun ownership tied to its hunting and sport shooting traditions.
Law enforcement officials say at least 16 people have been killed, and that the death toll is expected to rise.