Gunman’s Deteriorating Mental Health Ignored in Maine Shooting Rampage

PORTLAND, Maine – The 911 transcripts of the deadliest shooting in Maine history were released on Monday, shedding light on the chaos of the situation as emergency calls poured into dispatch centers. The shooting, which took place at a bowling alley and later at a bar on October 25, resulted in 18 deaths and 13 injuries. The gunman, identified as Robert Card II, was an Army reservist whose deteriorating mental health had been a cause for concern in the community.

The 911 transcripts captured tense moments as dispatchers stayed on the phone with callers, providing encouragement and instructions to wait for the police’s arrival. One caller, who correctly identified the shooter as Robert Card, described his deteriorating mental health state, stating that he had recently kicked his family out of his house and had not been well. The caller also mentioned that Card was known to have firearms in his house and that the sheriff’s department had been previously contacted about his behavior and mental health.

The situation escalated when the 911 operator became frustrated at one point over not being able to transfer a call with a person who said they were in the back field behind the bar. Despite a lockdown for tens of thousands of residents during the biggest manhunt in state history, the gunman’s body was found two days later in nearby Lisbon. An autopsy concluded that he died by suicide.

Notably, concerns about Card’s behavior had accelerated when he was hospitalized for two weeks while with his Army Reserve unit for training at West Point, New York. After his release, his access to military weapons was restricted, and he was no longer allowed to be deployed with his unit. Furthermore, one of his fellow reservists had expressed concern in a text, stating, “I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting.”

An independent commission appointed by Gov. Janet Mills is currently investigating all aspects of the shooting, particularly focusing on why warning signs about Card’s deteriorating mental health were ignored. The FBI confirmed that despite Card’s hospitalization, he was not placed on a list of “prohibited” people who are not allowed to have guns, and laws aimed at removing guns from people who pose a danger were not invoked.

In a month leading up to the mass shootings, deputies visited Card’s home in Bowdoin twice, but he didn’t come to the door. The sheriff mentioned that law enforcement didn’t have the legal authority to knock down the door. It remains unclear what happened after that, but the sheriff’s office canceled its statewide alert seeking help locating Card a week before the deadly rampage. This tragic event has prompted significant scrutiny and has raised important questions about mental health, gun laws, and law enforcement protocols.

In conclusion, the aftermath of this devastating shooting has sparked a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading up to the tragedy. The community is left grappling with the aftermath, and the need for preventative measures to avoid similar incidents in the future is on the forefront of public discourse.