US authorities carried out a massive manhunt in Maine for an Army reservist who they say killed 18 people and wounded 13 more.
A man opened fire at a bar restaurant and bowling alley in Lewiston, in the US state of Maine, on Wednesday, killing at least 18 people and wounding 13 more. The shooting threw the state's second-largest city into chaos as hundreds of police searched for a person of interest.
Schools, doctor's offices and grocery stores closed and people stayed behind locked doors in cities as far away as 80 kilometres from the scenes of the shooting.
US President Joe Biden ordered all national flags to be flown at half-staff as condolences poured in from around the nation, including from Maine native and author Stephen King, who called it “madness.”
The attacks stunned a state of only 1.3 million people that has one of the country’s lowest homicide rates: just 29 killings in all of 2022.
The shooting suspect, Robert Card, is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached, authorities said at a news conference. Card underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after he began acting erratically during training, a military official told The Associated Press.
Police said they have had no reported sightings of Card since the shootings at Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 6.4 kilometres away. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released two photos of the suspect walking into the bowling alley with his rifle raised to his shoulder.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released two photos of the suspect on its Facebook page that showed a shooter walking into an establishment with a weapon raised to their shoulder. Authorities said the shooting started just before 7 p.m.
Eight murder warrants were issued for Card, 40, after authorities identified eight of the victims, police said. Ten more will likely be issued once the names of the rest of the dead are confirmed, said Maine State Police Col. William Ross.
Officials with Central Maine Medical Center said three of the injured people were in critical condition and five were hospitalised but stable.
The shootings mark the 36th mass killing in the United States this year.
Maine doesn't require permits to carry guns, and the state has a longstanding culture of gun ownership that is tied to its traditions of hunting and sport shooting.