The dead body of the man believed to be responsible for Wednesday’s massacre that killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, was found on Friday night, Maine Gov. Janet Mills confirmed.
Robert Card was the prime suspect in the mass shooting, which left 18 people dead and 13 others injured at Schemengees Bar and Grille and the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, both located just four miles apart.
After a massive 48-hour manhunt, police discovered his body at 7:45 p.m. on Friday night in the woods by Maine Recycling near Lisbon, where his abandoned vehicle and a rifle were discovered, law enforcement officials said at a press conference shortly after 10 p.m. on Friday.
Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck refrained from providing the exact location but said the body was found near the river in Lisbon Falls, which is about 10 miles from Lewiston. He noted that it is still an active crime scene.
“I’m breathing a sigh of relief that Card is no longer a threat to anyone,” Ms. Mills told reporters at the press conference, adding that now is the time to heal.
Ms. Mills said she had informed President Joe Biden of Mr. Card’s death. She thanked law enforcement officials for their efforts.
Authorities had discovered a suicide note at a home linked to Mr. Card, addressed to his son, though it didn’t reveal a specific motive for the shooting.
Mr. Card, 40, was a U.S. Army reservist and a firearm instructor who held the rank of sergeant at a nearby U.S. Army Reserve base.
He had been temporarily committed to a mental health facility over the summer, according to law enforcement officials.
For days, tens of thousands of people have lived in fear as authorities ordered shelter-in-place restrictions in the wake of the shooting on Wednesday.
Earlier on Friday evening, Mr. Sauschuck said that the restriction would be lifted by Saturday. It is now expected to be rescinded.
Authorities had also said hunting would be prohibited on Saturday in the affected areas. This restriction will likely now be dropped as well.
At the time, due to the discovery of the suicide note, Mr. Sauschuck said that authorities didn’t know if Mr. Card was alive or dead, but that they were leaving their minds open to all options.
Mr. Sauschuck called for a moment of silence during a news conference while revealing the identities and photographs of the 16 men and two women who lost their lives. Their ages varied between 14 and 76.
Various federal agencies assisted state and local law enforcement in their efforts to locate Mr. Card. Federal agents conducted searches, collected electronics, and examined his financial records, social media, writings, and mental health history.
On Friday, a search of the Androscoggin River was conducted using divers, robots, and sonar, as investigators focused on the river as Mr. Card’s last known location.
Investigators were keenly interested in the river as the last place Mr. Card was known to be, as his white SUV was discovered abandoned at a boat launch.
Public records revealed that Mr. Card had at least one watercraft registered in his name, a 12-foot vessel with 155 horsepower made by jet ski company Sea-Doo.
Mr. Sauschuck said that law enforcement had not seen him in the last two days but had received over 530 tips from the public, ranging from alleged sightings to concerns and suggestions.
“What Maine people have seen this week from our medical professionals is nothing short of heroic,” she said. “I am amazed, but not surprised, by the extraordinary compassion of those who are working to help the victims of the Lewiston tragedy recover.”