Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that an independent commission has been tasked with investigating how warning signs appeared to be ignored in the months before a gunman killed 18 people in a mass shooting in Lewiston last month.
Mills said he has appointed seven experts with extensive legal, investigative and mental health experience to investigate the events surrounding the shootings at Schemengees Bar and Grille and the nearby Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley.
«The Commission’s charge is to determine the facts of the October 25 shootings, including the preceding months, and the police response,» the governor wrote in X.
The gunman, Robert Card, killed 18 people and wounded 13 more in the deadliest mass shooting in Maine history. He was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a recycling center trailer after a two-day manhunt.
Card, a trained firearms instructor and U.S. Army reservist, had been known to law enforcement for months as family members and others became increasingly concerned about his mental state.
On July 15, Card accused several members of his battalion of calling him a pedophile while he was in New York for training. He was accused of shoving a member before locking himself in a motel room.
Card was eventually taken to Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital in Katonah, New York, for a 14-day treatment and evaluation. He was released and did not seek further treatment.
Five weeks before the shootings, a member of Card’s Army Reserve unit sent a series of text messages saying, «I think (Card) is going to freak out and do a mass shooting,» with a warning to be armed. if anyone sees it.
Mills did not specify a timeline for when the findings will be available, although he said the commission will conduct its work publicly «to the greatest extent possible» before issuing a formal public report on the investigation’s conclusion.
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Members of the independent commission include:
• The Honorable Daniel E. Wathen, commission chairman, former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
• Dr. Debra Baeder, Ph.D., former Chief Forensic Psychologist for the State of Maine
• George (Toby) Dilworth, former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maine and current CEO of Drummond Woodsum
• The Honorable Ellen Gorman, former Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
• The Honorable Geoffrey Rushlau, former Maine District Court Judge and former District Attorney for Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo Counties
• Dr. Anthony Ng, MD, board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of Community Services at Northern Light Acadia Hospital
• Paula Silsby, former United States Attorney for the District of Maine