Officials react to mass shootings in Lewiston
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Officials react to the mass shootings in Lewiston.
Governor Janet Mills:
“There are still many things that we do not yet know about these attacks, but the full weight of my Administration is behind law enforcement’s efforts to capture the person of interest, Robert B. Card of Bowdoin; to hold whoever is responsible for this atrocity accountable under the full force of state and federal law; and to seek full justice for the victims and their families. We are not, and we will not, rest in this endeavor... I know that the people of Lewiston are enduring immeasurable pain. I wish I could take that pain from you, but I promise you this, we will all help you carry this grief. I ask Maine people to join me in offering our comfort to the families and friends who have lost someone and in offering our prayers for a swift recovery to the people who are healing in Maine hospitals today,”
Gov. Mills entire remarks from the 10:30 press conference will be attached at the end of this story.
President Joe Biden:
“Once again, our nation is in mourning after yet another senseless and tragic mass shooting. Today, Jill and I are praying for the Americans who’ve lost their lives, for those still in critical care, and for the families, survivors, and community members enduring shock and grief.
I also urge area residents to heed the warnings and guidance of local officials. Numerous Federal law enforcement personnel are on the scene and actively working with state and local partners. As I told Maine Governor Janet Mills, Senators Collins and King, and Congressman Golden last night, I have directed my administration to provide everything that is needed to support the people of Maine. We will continue to be there every step of the way.
For countless Americans who have survived gun violence and been traumatized by it, a shooting such as this reopens deep and painful wounds. Far too many Americans have now had a family member killed or injured as a result of gun violence. That is not normal, and we cannot accept it.
While we have made progress on gun safety through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the two dozen executive actions I’ve taken, and the establishment of the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, it’s simply not enough.
Today, in the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers. This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars — physical and mental — of this latest attack.”
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
“I was devastated to hear the news last night of a deadly shooting in Lewiston, Maine. I know the entire Senate stands behind our colleagues, Senator Collins and Senator King, as they help their state marshal its response.
“We pray especially for the victims of this senseless violence, for their families, and for the law enforcement personnel working tirelessly to save lives and bring the suspect to justice.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
“This morning, the nation grieves with the people of Lewiston, Maine, after last night’s horrible, senseless mass shooting. The shooter remains at large, and we pray that there is no more bloodshed after the horrors of last night.
The stories coming out of Lewiston are gut-wrenching: people gunned down while just trying to enjoy their Wednesday night out at the bowling alley and a restaurant.
A bowling alley and a restaurant! These are supposed to be places where families go to have a good time, but now they have become sites – like too many places – of tragic mass shootings in America.
It’s beyond heartbreaking that mass shootings like this continue to happen in our country.
My condolences are with the families and loved ones. I can just imagine them sitting and just wondering why did this happen to us. My prayers will be with all Mainers and first responders, as authorities keep working to locate the shooter.
Today, all of our hearts are with Lewiston.”
Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey
“My heart continues to ache for the loss of life and infliction of harm perpetrated on the people of Lewiston last night. As citizens across this state mourn the tragic and senseless events that occurred almost 24 hours ago, it is important to give law enforcement the space it requires to conduct its work in this continuing and developing situation. This includes abiding by all orders to shelter in place and keeping law enforcement informed of suspicious activity. Our public safety and law enforcement officials are working tirelessly to follow leads and gather information in order to apprehend the suspect, and our collective support in these ways is crucial.
I have every confidence that the talented professionals leading this manhunt and ongoing investigation are bringing all assets to bear to locate the suspect and to reconstruct the events surrounding his actions. Those efforts are multiplied by a range of local, state and federal partners who are collaborating with forces in Lewiston and surrounding areas. The Office of the Attorney General stands behind this intensive effort and is prepared to vigorously prosecute these heinous acts of violence. At the same time, my office will devote its considerable expertise and talent to facilitate support for those affected by the shootings and provide guidance and resources to the victims’ loved ones.”
Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office:
“The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office sends our thoughts and prayers to the victims, families and communities impacted by the horrific situation in the greater Lewiston area.
Our office has been in direct communication with law enforcement in Lewiston. We have offered appropriate resources as needed.
There are no immediate threats in our county, however out of an abundance of caution, we directed deputies to many schools throughout the county.
We will remain in contact with law enforcement in Lewiston and share updates that may or may not impact our county.
Again, our office wants to be clear, there are no immediate threats identified in Penobscot County.”
Maine Gun Safety Coalition:
“The Maine Gun Safety Coalition grieves with the families and friends who lost loved ones in the mass shooting last night. We watched in horror as the tragedy in Lewiston, Maine happened before our eyes – the result of our weak gun laws. We call on our elected officials tonight to stop bowing to the gun lobby and look squarely at the face of what has happened in Maine’s second largest city. At a minimum, The Maine Gun Safety Coalition believes an assault weapons ban is necessary to try to prevent more such tragedies in our state.”
Maine Democratic Party Chair Bev Uhlenhake and MDP Vice Chair Julian Rogers :
“Our hearts are with the Lewiston community, the victims, and their families in the face of this unimaginable tragedy. As Mainers, this attack touches us all, and we stand ready to support each other through the immense grief and uncertainty of the coming days, months, and years.
Our thoughts and thanks go out to the first responders on the scene in Lewiston and the surrounding communities as they continue to work to keep Mainers safe.”
Maine Legislative Republicans:
“We continue to monitor the horrific situation in the greater Lewiston area as the manhunt is underway for the person of interest in the Lewiston mass shooting. We grieve for the families of the 18 who were killed and 13 injured in this senseless tragedy.
“We thank the Lewiston Police Department, Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police, our emergency first responders, local hospitals and federal authorities for their heroic efforts as the night unfolded and manhunt continues. We urge everyone to stay safe and vigilant by monitoring instructions and advisories from law enforcement, and stand ready to assist any way we can.”
Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier:
“My heart grieves deeply for my community and for those who were killed, injured or are mourning the loss of loved ones in this senseless and preventable tragedy. To have this happen in my hometown is both surreal and heartbreaking. This has only strengthened my own resolve to do whatever I can to help prevent similar tragedies like this from happening again in other communities. As a state, we must do more to address gun violence and keep ourselves, our families, our friends and our neighbors safe. Words are not enough – they never have been. We must take bold action. I am also extremely grateful to the Lewiston Police Department and all of the emergency personnel who answered the call to respond to this incident, and who continue their hard work today to keep us safe.”
Senator Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston:
“I am heartbroken. Our city of Lewiston, the place we call home, is a wonderful, diverse and vibrant community normally so full of light and life. Today, however, we are a community in mourning as we grapple with unimaginable heartache and profound grief – our sense of safety and security shattered by this horrific act of mass violence. As we await answers, I want to thank all the first responders, members of law enforcement and health professionals responding to this devastating attack on our community. I would ask that the people of Maine keep our community in their hearts today. Please say a prayer for those we lost, the families in mourning and the residents of Lewiston awaiting news about loved ones.”
Reps. Mana Abdi, Margaret Craven and Michel Lajoie issued the following joint statement:
“Today, our hearts are broken. Along with our entire community, we are devastated and horrified by the unfathomable acts of mass gun violence that took place last night. We are deeply thankful to all of the first responders, law enforcement and hospital staff who responded swiftly, and will continue to keep all of our neighbors, families and friends who have been affected in our hearts. Together, we are committed to ensuring that a tragedy like this will never happen to another community ever again.”
Gov. Mills full remarks:
“Thank you for being here. As you may be able to hear, my voice is a little hoarse after working through the night last night.
As you know, last night, local, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers from across Maine responded to reports of an active shooter at multiple locations in Lewiston, including at Sparetime Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille.
These law enforcement officers, in the face of danger, responded swiftly, selflessly, and with great bravery – bravery that they continue to demonstrate today as they search tirelessly for a person of interest in connection with last night’s events. On behalf of all Maine people, I express my deep gratitude for your response and for your continued service. As I also do for Maine’s hospitals and other medical emergency response.
I am profoundly saddened to stand before you today to report that 18 people were killed and 13 people were injured in last night’s attacks. In memory of those we lost, and in honor of those who were injured, President Biden and I have ordered all U.S. and State of Maine flags to be lowered to half-staff immediately for the next five days.
Maine state police have issued a shelter in place order for Lewiston, Lisbon, and Bowdoin as the manhunt for that person of interest, Robert B. Card of Bowdoin, continues.
I will let law enforcement speak to the ongoing manhunt and to their investigation, but Card is considered armed and dangerous, and police advise that Maine people should not approach him under any circumstances.
I continue to strongly urge Maine people to follow the direction of State and local law enforcement amid this everchanging situation. Please, if you see anything suspicious, I urge you to call 911.
There are still many things that we do not yet know about these attacks, but the full weight of my Administration is behind law enforcement’s efforts to capture the person of interest, Robert B. Card of Bowdoin; to hold whoever is responsible for this atrocity accountable under the full force of state and federal law; and to seek full justice for the victims and their families.
We are not, and we will not, rest in this endeavor.
My Administration is communicating and coordinating closely with local, regional, and federal officials to respond to this shooting. I have spoken twice with President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Becerra, all of whom called me last night to express the Biden Administration’s unwavering support and to offer any and all help that we need moving forward.
The governors of our neighboring New England states and of other states have all contacted us to offer aid, and I am sincerely grateful to them.
We have been in touch with every member of Maine’s Congressional Delegation who have all offered their full support, for which I am grateful.
I also called Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline and Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque last night to reiterate that we are standing by them and that we will deploy all available State resources, including grief counselors and other mental health services, to help our communities heal.
If you or a person you love needs someone to talk to during this difficult time, please call or text 988 for free and confidential counseling. That’s 9-8-8.
Lewiston is a special place. It is a closeknit community with a long history of hard work, of persistence, of faith, of opening its big heart to people everywhere. Lewiston is where I worked for years, it’s where I met and married my husband, Stan, and it’s where the girls went to school.
I love this place, just as I love our whole state with my entire heart. I am so deeply saddened. This city did not deserve this terrible assault on its citizens, on its peace of mind, on its sense of security. No city does. No state. No people.
No words can truly or fully measure the grief of Maine people. Our small state, of just 1.3 million, has long been known as one of the safest states in the nation. This attack strikes at the very heart of who we are and the values we hold dear for this precious place we call home.
All Maine people are sharing in the sorrow of the families who lost loved ones last night, loved ones who were killed or injured while unwinding from a day at work or while spending time with their family and friends.
On behalf of the 1.3 million people in our state, I hold these families and this city in my heart today.
I know that the people of Lewiston are enduring immeasurable pain. I wish I could take that pain from you, but I promise you this, we will all help you carry this grief.
I ask Maine people to join me in offering our comfort to the families and friends who have lost someone and in offering our prayers for a swift recovery to the people who are healing in Maine hospitals today.
This is a dark day for Maine.
I know that it is hard for us to think about healing when our hearts are broken, but I want every person in Maine to know that we will heal together.
We are a resilient and caring people. In the days and weeks ahead, we will need to lean on those qualities more than ever before.
As we move forward, struggling as we may, let us wrap our arms around one another, offering comfort and solace and love.
I know the Maine State Police will continue to release information to the public as we confirm it and information about any steps that the public can take to support the people of Lewiston in this time.
May God bless the people of Lewiston and bless the memories of those we lost.
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