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The suspect in the Lewiston, Maine mass shooting was found dead

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The suspect wanted for the shooting that killed 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, was found dead yesterday. Officials have also released more information about those who were killed. NPR's Joe Hernandez has been reporting from Lewiston and joins us. Joe, thanks for being with us.

JOE HERNANDEZ, BYLINE: You're welcome.

SIMON: Officials announced late Friday a man named Robert Card had been found dead. What do we know?

HERNANDEZ: Right. Authorities made the announcement during a press conference late in the evening, and they said they found the body of 40-year-old Robert Card in Lisbon Falls, near the Androscoggin River, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Besides that, they didn't release many other details, but we're expecting more information today. But last night, Maine Governor Janet Mills said she was breathing a sigh of relief knowing Card was no longer a threat to the community.

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JANET MILLS: I know there are some people or many people who share that sentiment, but I also know that his death may not bring solace to many. Now is a time to heal.

HERNANDEZ: President Biden also released a statement after news of Card's death, thanking first responders and calling it a tragic two days for Lewiston and the nation. And what it means now for the community, basically, is that they can begin to move on. They'd been holding their breath for a few days, waiting for this manhunt to come to an end. The shelter-in-place orders that were in place had been lifted earlier in the evening, and a few local hunting bans that were in place due to the manhunt were lifted after news of Card's death.

SIMON: Joe, what have authorities released about the victims in this shooting?

HERNANDEZ: Well, they shared more details at an event earlier in the day yesterday. Eighteen people were killed in the shooting, all of whom have now been identified, and their families have all been notified. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 76 and included a father and son and a husband and wife. Police got photos from all the families and showed them at this press conference, reading the name of each victim aloud and asking the reporters in attendance for a moment of silence. Lewiston Police Chief David St. Pierre was asked by a journalist what it's been like for investigators, and he said he knew some of the victims and so did other officers.

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DAVID ST. PIERRE: And it's certainly very challenging - you know, try to go into a situation very objectively and, you know, do a very thorough job knowing that you know this person that it's affected, or, you know, a family member or a friend - very difficult.

HERNANDEZ: Lewiston is Maine's second largest city, but it still only has a population of about 40,000 residents.

SIMON: Joe, what lies ahead in this investigation and for the community of Lewiston?

HERNANDEZ: Well, we're still waiting for more information about how Card acquired his weapons. We know the Army reservist had mental health issues and was even hospitalized last year for them. And there have been questions about the state's legal authority to take his guns away because of those mental health issues. Maine's law is not as strong as some other states' laws in that respect.

But I think, as far as today goes, it will be seeing how the community reacts to news of the suspect's death and having those shelter-in-place orders lifted. People will be able to gather in person for the first time since the shooting to hold events like vigils that had been only taking place online due to the active manhunt, which is now over.

SIMON: NPR's Joe Hernandez in Lewiston, Maine. Thanks so much for being with us.

HERNANDEZ: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.