In a small town on the US East Coast, police are deployed to bring a rampage under control. At least sixteen people were killed.
A rampage shooter has shot dead at least sixteen people in the US state of Maine on the US east coast. This was reported by the AP news agency on Thursday night. Initially, ten people were reported dead. The TV stations CNN, NBC and "Fox News" reported at least 22 dead. The crime occurred in the city of Lewiston, which has about 35,000 inhabitants.
Dozens more were injured in the bloodshed, two law enforcement officials told the AP news agency. Some had sustained injuries as they fled, NBC reported.
The police published a wanted notice on Facebook
They are looking for 40-year-old Robert Card. The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office, of which Lewiston is the largest city, posted two photos of the suspect on its Facebook page. They show a man wearing a brown jacket and carrying a semi-automatic rifle. The sheriff's office said the suspect was still at large.
According to a police report seen by the AP news agency, Card is believed to have undergone training with the US Army to become a firearms instructor. According to the report, Card spent two weeks in a psychiatric facility in the summer. He allegedly heard voices and threatened to go on a rampage at a military base.
Lewiston police had previously said in a Facebook post that there was an "active shooter" at two locations, once at Schemengees Bar and Grill and once at Sparetime Recreation bowling alley. The locations are 6.4 kilometres apart. Residents were asked to clear the streets to allow emergency services free access to hospitals. Police also warned the public to stay indoors.
"We are advising all businesses to lock down or close while we investigate," the sheriff's office said.
Maine Governor Janet Mills urged Lewiston residents to stay off the streets and let the police do their job.
Hospitals not adequately prepared
On its website, Central Maine Medical Center said staff were preparing for "a large number of victims" and were coordinating with area hospitals to accept patients.
Councillor Robert McCarthy said hospitals in the small town were not designed to cope with a situation like this - "they are doing what they can. The situation is surreal."
"You see it on the news and you tell yourself this will never happen here. And then it happens here and it just blows your mind.
"We are advising all businesses to lock down or close while we investigate," the sheriff's office said. Maine Governor Janet Mills urged Lewiston residents to stay off the streets and let the police do their job.
US President Biden briefed on the situation at White House
Melinda Small, owner of a sports bar in Lewiston, told the AP news agency that her staff immediately locked the doors to the establishment and moved all 25 customers and staff out of range of the entrance after a customer heard gunshots at the bowling bar nearby. Police soon arrived and escorted everyone out of the bar in groups of four. She said everyone is now safe.
The White House said US President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident and would continue to be kept informed. He also spoke with Governor Mills and the Maine congresswomen on the phone and assured them of the full support of the federal government in the wake of this horrific attack, the White House said.
Francis Tawiah (Duisburg - Germany)