The suspected gunman, 40-year-old Robert Card, who killed 18 people and injured 13 more, has been found dead Friday evening.
The gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound near a recycling plant in Maine, eight miles from the scene of the shooting, according to Mike Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety.
CNN reported that Card, a US Army reserve, was recently fired from the recycling facility near where he was found.
On Wednesday, the shooter killed eighteen people at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston followed by a 48-hour manhunt and lockdown of the city.
In a statement, President Biden said that the shooting was “tragic,” not just for Maine, “but for our entire country.” He continued, “Americans should not have to live like this…I will do everything in my power to end this gun violence epidemic.”
The motive for the shooting remains unknown. However, Sauschuck confirmed at a press conference that a note was left at Card’s home. Police sources told ABC News that a “suicide note” addressed to Card’s son was found during a search. The contents of the note have not been made public.
Card also had a history of mental health problems and spent two weeks in a mental health facility during the summer following a military evaluation.
However, physicians argue that it is not these “mental health issues” that are the cause of gun violence in the United States. Gun violence is a complex issue driven by a range of other factors including widespread access to firearms, income inequality and under-resourced public housing.
Questions are now arising about whether the shooting could have been prevented. In Maine, people do not need a permit or a background check to buy or conceal carry a gun. The state also does not have a red flag law, meaning that individuals can purchase or possess guns even if they are a danger to themselves or others.
However, Maine does have a yellow flag law, which enables family members to contact the police to restrict a relative from bearing arms if they are suffering from mental health issues.
Maine Senator, Susan Collins, said that the yellow flag law should have been used in Card’s case as he had been hospitalized for two weeks for mental illness. Still, it is not clear whether the military or any of his family members took steps to limit his access to guns.
The Lewiston shooting is the deadliest shooting so far this year and since the Uvalde school massacre in 2022 where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
This year there have been 566 mass shootings across the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This data shows that on average more than 50 people per day are killed by a firearm in the US.
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