Maine Mass Shooting Leaves 18 Dead, Casinos and Other Businesses Closed
Both commercial casinos in Maine are closed today after a mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine, with the suspect still at large.
The incident left 18 people dead and 13 injured. The shootings took place at two locations: a bowling alley named Sparetime Recreation, and Schemengees Bar and Grill.
The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Robert Card, a certified firearms instructor and member of the U.S. Army Reserve, is still at large. More than 100 police officers, as well as federal officials from the FBI and other agencies, are involved in the active search. Authorities have warned local residents to stay indoors, with Card described as “armed and dangerous.”
In response to the incident, both Maine casino venues, the Oxford Casino Hotel and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor, have temporarily shut down.
The Oxford Casino Hotel is 14 or so miles away from the tragic crime scenes. It announced its closure on its website earlier today, although there is no indication the suspect was seen near the venue.
“Out of an abundance of caution, given the current situation in and around Lewiston, and for the safety of our Team Members and guests, we are currently closed,” said the casino’s website.
“We will provide more updates as we receive them regarding reopening. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted, as well as their families and friends.”
Oxford Casino Hotel and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor are the only two casino properties in the state. The Oxford Casino Hotel features over 850 slot machines and 26 table games, while the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor offers over 900 slot machines and 16 table games. Both casinos are significant contributors to Maine’s tourism industry and local economy.
There is no indication when the casinos will open again as of yet, as a community grieves and law enforcement continue to search for the suspected perpetrator of this latest mass shooting event.
18 Dead, Local Businesses on Lockdown
Many other businesses in Maine, including retailer L.L. Bean, also closed or had delayed openings. Most schools in the area are also shut with the suspect still at large.
“If seen, people should not approach Card or contact with him. Please stay inside your home with the doors locked,” Maine State Police posted on Facebook. “If you see any suspicious activity or individuals, please call 911.”
Local residents have spoken on their shock and sadness that such an event could happen in a small, quiet city of 35,000.
“Helicopters, sirens, I’ve never heard so much activity in my life in this city. We have police from all over the state, from out of the state, coming up,” said Lewiston resident Billie Jayne Cooke, speaking to the BBC.
“The whole city is on lockdown. It’s horrible. You just don’t think that’s ever going to happen, and it did.”
Ongoing Investigation and Search for the Suspect
More than 100 police officers are involved in the search for Card, who was possibly last seen in Lisbon, Maine, seven miles from Lewiston.
A warrant has been issued for Card’s arrest on eight counts of murder, with more counts expected as the victims are identified. Local, state, and federal officials, including specialized units from the FBI, are working together on the investigation.