Tragic Mass Shooting in Lewiston Sparks Questions About Mental Health and Law Enforcement Response

In a tragic turn of events, a mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine, leaving 18 people dead and 13 injured. The shooter, identified as Robert Card, was a 40-year-old Army firearms instructor.[0] The incident has raised questions about whether there were warning signs that could have been identified and addressed before the shooting took place.

According to reports, concerns about Card's mental health had been raised by his family as early as January.[1] Members of Card's family contacted the local sheriff's office in May, expressing their worries about his declining mental state and his access to firearms.[2] They believed that he needed medical attention. The sheriff's office was also contacted by Card's Army Reserve unit in September, requesting a wellness check.[2]

The concerns about Card's mental health were not unfounded. The Army had conducted a medical evaluation on Card in July while he was training at the U.S. Military Academy in New York.[3] The evaluation revealed that Card was “acting erratically” and he was deemed “non-deployable.”[4] He was prohibited from accessing weapons, ammunition, and participating in live fire activities.[3] Card was then admitted to a psychiatric hospital for two weeks before being released.[3]

Alarming reports from Card's Army Reserve unit further highlighted the potential dangers. A police report filed by Sgt. Aaron Skolfield stated that Card was experiencing psychotic episodes, hearing voices that insulted him and called him a pedophile.[2] He had also made threats to shoot up the Army Reserve facility in Saco, Maine.[1] Another soldier from Card's unit expressed fear that he would carry out a mass killing.[1]

Despite these red flags, law enforcement authorities were unable to make contact with Card during their attempts to conduct a wellness check in mid-September. Multiple visits to his residence yielded no response, although his car was present. Card could be heard moving around inside the trailer but refused to open the door.[5] Due to the disadvantageous position of the officers, they decided to back away.

The tragic events in Lewiston have raised questions about the response of law enforcement agencies and whether more could have been done to prevent the shooting. The Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office, which was involved in the attempts to locate and check on Card, maintains that they followed procedures appropriately. Sheriff Joel Merry stated that his office will evaluate its procedures for conducting wellness checks.[6]

The case of Robert Card serves as a reminder of the importance of taking mental health concerns seriously and ensuring that individuals in crisis receive the necessary support and treatment. It also highlights the need for improved communication and coordination between different agencies, including law enforcement and the military, to address potential threats and prevent tragedies like the one in Lewiston.

As the community mourns the loss of 18 lives and grapples with the aftermath of the mass shooting, there is a call for reflection and action to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. The focus should be on early intervention, access to mental health services, and a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex factors that contribute to acts of violence. Only through a concerted effort can we hope to prevent further tragedies and ensure the safety and well-being of our communities.

0. “Maine Shooter's National Guard Unit Warned Cops They Feared He Would ‘Snap and Commit a Mass Shooting'” Mediaite, 30 Oct. 2023,

1. “Maine gun was subject of numerous warnings, searches before massacre” The Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023,

2. “Sagadahoc sheriff's office confirms receiving report of Robert Card's declining mental health before mass shooting” Lewiston Sun Journal, 31 Oct. 2023,

3. “New Records Show What Cops Knew of ‘Declining' Maine Gunman” The Daily Beast, 31 Oct. 2023,

4. “Army said Maine shooter should not have gun, requested welfare check” ABC News, 31 Oct. 2023,

5. “Documents: Family, staff sergeant feared Lewiston gunman was ‘going to snap' weeks before shooting” KOAT New Mexico, 31 Oct. 2023,

6. “Maine shooting update: Sheriff alerted on Card weeks before shootings” The Boston Globe, 31 Oct. 2023,

Leave a Reply