LEWISTON, Maine - A massive manhunt is underway in Maine after a mass shooting that spanned two locations Wednesday night left at least 18 people dead and 13 wounded, authorities said.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said in a late night news conference that law enforcement is not yet confirming an exact number of victims since the situation remains "very fluid."
Wednesday’s death toll is staggering for a state that recorded 29 homicides for the whole year in 2022.
While a suspect has not yet been named, the Lewiston Police Department identified 40-year-old Robert R. Card, of Bowdoin, Maine, as a person of interest Wednesday night. According to an internal Maine Information and Analysis Center bulletin obtained by Fox News, Card is a firearms instructor and has military experience.
He is believed to be in the Army Reserve stationed out of Saco, Maine, according to the bulletin.
Authorities said Card should not be approached if seen as he is considered "armed and dangerous."
"Law Enforcement is attempting to locate Robert Card 4/4/1983, as a person of interest regarding the mass shooting at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation this evening," Lewiston police announced in a Facebook post. "Card should be considered armed and dangerous. Please contact law enforcement if you are aware of his whereabouts."
Card also recently reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, and allegedly made threats to shoot up the National Guard base in Maine, according to the bulletin which cited law enforcement.
He was also reportedly committed to a mental health facility for two weeks over the summer.
Authorities told residents in Lewiston to "shelter in place" and to "stay inside your home with the doors locked."
At midnight on Thursday, the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) announced that the shelter-in-place order had expanded to include the town of Lisbon.
The expanded order comes after authorities found Card's white Subaru Outback near the Lisbon boat dock on Frost Hill Avenue near Route 196.
Androscoggin County officials ultimately issued a shelter-in-place order for the entire county and told residents to "make sure your homes and vehicles are secured."
Law enforcement officials investigate outside the Schemengees Bar and Grille on October 26, 2023 in Lewiston, Maine. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
The Lewiston Police Department confirmed that the active shooting incidents took place at two locations, identified as Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and Sparetime Recreation.
Mollison Way, which is where Sparetime Recreation is located, is closed until further notice as the investigation continues, according to police. River Road from Locust Street to South Avenue is also closed to all travelers except residents.
Authorities said the shooting locations occurred at Schemengees Bar and Grille and at Sparetime Recreation, recently renamed to Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles away.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office shared two photos of the person of interest, who was seen on surveillance cameras wearing a brown sweatshirt and holding a rifle while walking through doors decorated with bowling pins and a bowling ball.
Central Maine Medical Center, which is a level two trauma center, said in an announcement Wednesday night that it was reacting to a "mass casualty, mass shooter event."
Additional views of the suspect, courtesy Lewiston Police Department
As of 9 p.m., the hospital said that it cannot share the specifics on the number of casualties.
"Central Maine Healthcare is coordinating with area hospitals to take in patients," the hospital said.
Police noted that a reunification area was set up at Auburn Middle School in Auburn, Maine, for those with questions about the whereabouts of loved ones.
Law enforcement officials (R) guard the ambulance entrance to the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine early on October 26, 2023. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
According to the White House, President Biden was briefed on the mass shooting.
"The President has been briefed on what’s known so far about the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, and will continue to receive updates," the White House said in a statement.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that she was aware of the shooting and encouraged residents to follow directions from law enforcement.
"I am aware of and have been briefed on the active shooter situation in Lewiston. I urge all people in the area to follow the direction of State and local enforcement," Mills wrote. "I will to continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with public safety officials."
FBI Boston said in a statement on X that it is coordinating with state and local law enforcement, and ready to assist when needed.
"The FBI Boston Division continues to coordinate with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in Maine, and we stand ready to assist with any available resources they need, including evidence response, investigative and tactical support, as well as victim assistance. We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately. As this situation is still very fluid, we have no further comment at this time and will refer you to the Maine State Police," the bureau wrote.
Lewiston Public School Superintendent Jake Langlais announced Wednesday night that school is canceled Thursday in response to the shooting. A message on the school system's website read as follows:
"There will not be school tomorrow. At this time, there will be no activity at Lewiston Schools Thursday October 26, 2023. There remains a lot of unknowns at this time. Information moves quickly but not always accurately. Please continue to shelter in place or get to safety. We will continue to update you with information and next steps as appropriate."
Langlais encouraged the student body to "stay close to your loved ones."
"Stay close to your loved ones. Embrace them. Our prayers go out to those who lost someone tonight. Our prayers go out to all those working to stop further loss of life. We will provide updates."
Maine School Administrator Districts 52 and 75 will also be closed Thursday, as well as Central Maine Community College and Bates College, according to local news outlets.
The search for the shooting suspect also prompted other school districts, such as MSAD 35 in Eliot, to request additional law enforcement officers at all buildings in the school system on Thursday.
"I have been in contact with the Eliot and South Berwick Police Departments and have asked to have an increased presence in all of our buildings tomorrow," Superintendent John Caverly wrote on the district's website. "I know fears will be heightened regarding such a tragic situation and my hope is these measures may provide a degree of comfort for our students, staff and families by adding an additional layer to our already comprehensive crisis planning."
The city of Lewiston also announced all municipal buildings will be closed Thursday, including City Hall, Lewiston Public Library, and the Armory, as the search for the shooting suspect continues. All programs, events and early voting opportunities at Lewiston City Hall scheduled for Thursday are also canceled and all non-emergency personnel have been asked to stay at home.
All town offices in Lisbon are also closed on Thursday, according to an alert on the city's website.
A news conference is scheduled to take place at Lewiston City Hall Thursday at 10:30 a.m., according to Fox News' Molly Line.