The US Senate is pressing the US Army for explanations following a tragic mass shooting in Maine perpetrated by a 40-year-old reservist named Robert Card. The incident occurred on October 25 at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, resulting in the loss of 18 lives and injuries to 13 individuals. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are now seeking clarification from military authorities regarding their failure to address Card’s behavior prior to the tragic event.
On November 2, Senators Collins and King jointly signed a letter addressed to Lieutenant General Donna W. Martin, advocating for openness in the situation. The two lawmakers requested a detailed account of the Army’s engagements with Card, with a specific focus on his mental well-being. The communication also aims to gain insights into the circumstances preceding the attack, exploring whether they contributed to enabling the reservist to inflict significant harm.
The correspondence poses significant inquiries about the Army’s protocol for reporting. In particular, Senators King and Collins seek clarity on when the military initiates the process of flagging a worrisome servicemember in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Additionally, they are keen to ascertain the criteria the Army typically follows to invoke state laws designed to seize firearms from soldiers deemed a potential risk.
As per a Washington Times report, there was prior awareness within the army regarding Card’s instability. In September, a fellow servicemember reportedly sent a text message to an undisclosed recipient, cautioning that Card was on the verge of a breakdown and might engage in a mass shooting. The specific actions taken by the Army following this information, if any, remain uncertain.
Governor Janet Mills declared the formation of an autonomous commission on November 1, tasked with examining Card’s background and assessing the local law enforcement’s handling of the shooting. In an official statement, she emphasized that both the families of the victims and the entire nation deserved a comprehensive understanding of the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.
Senators Collins and King expressed full support for this investigative initiative, stating that the outcomes could potentially contribute to the prevention of future shootings. They are also encouraging all individuals possessing information on the matter to collaborate in their efforts.