The man accused of killing 18 people in a shooting spree in Maine last week believed local businesses – including the bowling alley and bar he rampaged – were involved in a conspiracy and broadcasted messages online accusing him of being a pedophile, records say.
An arrest warrant for Robert Card released Tuesday reveals the gunman’s possible motives for carrying out the state’s deadliest mass shooting. The records also detail statements by the Army reservist’s family about his poor mental health and Card’s break up with a woman he first met at the bar he targeted in the massacre.
On the evening of Oct. 25, Card opened fire on patrons and workers at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille in Lewiston, Maine, according to police. He killed 18 people, wounded over a dozen others and the ensuing manhunt closed schools, businesses and kept thousands of people across southern Maine huddled in their homes. Card’s body was found inside a recycling center trailer two days after the shooting. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
Break up sent Card spiraling, family says
A family member, whose name was redacted in the warrant, said Card “went through a bad break-up” in February with a woman he met at Schemengees Bar & Grille. He had been “delusional” ever since, the warrant said.
After the break up, Card “had significant weight loss, has been hospitalized for mental health issues and prescribed medication that he stopped taking.” Family members told police Card “started wearing hearing aids and had been saying crazy things,” including that there was “a conspiracy against him and people were accusing him of being a pedophile,” the report said.
Along with the Lewiston bar and bowling alley, Card believed a market and a nightclub were also “broadcasting online” the accusatory messages. Police in the arrest warrant wrote that Card believed his family was involved in the conspiracy, too.
Card met the person who would eventually break up with him during a cornhole competition at Schemengees Bar & Grille, the warrant said.
On the evening he walked through the bar “while seeking out and shooting patrons,” the bar was hosting a cornhole competition that was attended by members of the local deaf community.
The many red flags raised by Card’s family and the Army
Records released earlier this week by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office detailed repeated warnings about Card’s deteriorating mental condition and a first-hand account of him threatening to commit a mass shooting – evidence experts say could’ve been used to temporarily seize Card’s firearms following a mental health evaluation under Maine’s “yellow flag” law.
In May, Card’s ex-wife and son contacted the Sheriff’s Office and told a deputy that Card was drinking heavily, acting paranoid and had picked up 10 to 15 handguns and rifles from his brother’s house.
Two months later, Card was taken by police to a psychiatric hospital and received two weeks of treatment after his fellow reservists reported that he was “hearing voices calling him a pedophile” and other insults at a training event in West Point, New York. Card’s superiors banned him from handling firearms and ammunition at his home reserve base in Maine and tried to persuade him to retire from the Reserve and seek psychiatric help.
In September, fellow reservists said they were driving home from a night at a casino when Card began ranting and punched another colleague. Card, according to the report, was “making threats to shoot up the Saco National Guard facility” in nearby Saco, Maine. The Army asked the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office to check on Card, citing the concern of a soldier that “Card is going to snap and commit a mass shooting,” records said.
Deputies searched for Card once at his trailer and, when they found that he was not home, they issued an alert to every law enforcement agency in Maine to be on the lookout for Card. A day later, deputies again tried him at his trailer. They saw Card’s white Subaru parked outside and heard him moving around inside, but he didn’t answer the door.
The responding deputy called Card’s reserve unit commander, who apparently advised the deputies to back down, saying forcing contact might not be advantageous. The lookout alert for Card was canceled on Oct. 18. The sheriff’s office has not said why.
A week later, police identified Card as the assailant in the shocking shooting spree.
Source : USA Today