Law enforcement officials in Maine held a press conference Friday morning to update the public on the latest in their search for Robert Card, the presumed shooter who killed 18 people and injured scores more during a rampage on Wednesday night.
Commissioner of Safety Mike Sauschuck revealed the suspect is not in custody and described the hunt as a “rapidly evolving” situation involving local, state, and federal law enforcement.
Sauschuck emphasized that public safety is of paramount importance while the shooter is still on the loose, and asked for patience as officials worked to get control of the many “moving parts” of the investigation. He confirmed that shelter-in-place orders were still in effect for a handful of localities, including Lewiston, Lisbon, and Bowdoin, but they would look into whether those restrictions could be relaxed.
Investigators spent the overnight hours looking into the more than 530 tips and leads they have received from the public; they are also interviewing 70 witnesses. As of this morning’s briefing, law enforcement had officially identified 8 of the 18 fatalities, and the families had been informed.
Officials plan to spend today at two “primary venues”: the sites of the carnage, where they are processing “every square inch” and collecting every bullet cartridge — a process that could take several days — and the boat launch in Lisbon where the suspect’s white Subaru station wagon was found.
Sauschuck said much of today’s efforts will be focused on the Androscoggin River; there has been speculation that Card made his escape via the river. Divers will be going into the river, supported by air resources, and comprehensive shoreline and woodline searches will be taking place in the hunt for evidence. Sauschuck would not confirm whether or not authorities are searching for Card’s body in the river.
Officials are also dealing with one pending issue, and it could be a big one: deer hunting season starts tomorrow in Maine. At the very least, this could hamper the ongoing search of the woods surrounding the river. Police are expected to further address this issue later today.
The FBI has set up a digital tip line for anyone who may have information about Wednesday’s mass shooting.