Army Didn't Want Guns in Hands of Maine Shooter

And requested a welfare check that went basically nowhere, it seems
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 31, 2023 2:54 AM CDT
Army Had Determined Maine Shooter Should Not Have Access to Weapon
Pumpkin memorials for those who died in the Lewiston shooting sit in the rain outside Sparetime bowling, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, in Lewiston, Maine.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

After the man who would become the Maine mass shooter was hospitalized for two weeks due to mental health issues over the summer, the US Army, with which he was a reservist, determined he should not have access to weapons. In a statement to ABC News, an Army spokesperson says Robert Card's commander was informed that Card "should not have a weapon, handle ammunition, and not participate in live fire activity." In its statement, released after news broke that a statewide alert regarding threats from Card went out to Maine police last month, the spokesperson says the Army also determined that due to "concerns over his well-being," Card should not be put in deployable status. In September, his reserve unit requested that the Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office carry out a health and welfare check on Card.

The sheriff's office, in turn, confirms it received that request and says it did attempt to carry out the check on September 15 and again on September 16, but Card was not home. The department says it did make contact with Card's family, as well as with his unit commander, who confirmed Card had no Army-issued weapons. (The Army's order did not apply to any weapons Card personally owned.) "On Sept. 17, 2023, our deputy made contact with Mr. Card's brother, who told our office that he would work to secure any firearms that Mr. Card had access to," the sheriff's department says. "Our deputy also asked that the family call back if they believed that Mr. Card (needed) an evaluation or was a risk to himself or others."

Law enforcement sources tell CNN that when a deputy tried to carry out the welfare check, he was told that "when [Card] answers the door at his trailer, in the past he usually does so with a handgun in hand out of view from the person outside." The sources say that the sheriff's department later learned from the Army that a soldier was "concerned that [Card] is going to snap and commit a mass shooting." The news adds to the questions around what more could have been done to stop Card; it was also recently reported that his attempt to buy a silencer triggered Maine's yellow flag law. It's not clear whether any of these warnings led to any attempt to restrict Card's access to weapons. (More Maine mass shooting stories.)

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