• An independent commission, formed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, is investigating the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history.
  • The commission, consisting of former judges and prosecutors, is reviewing both the facts of the shooting and the police response.
  • Families of the victims are scheduled to testify at a hearing in Lewiston on Monday, aimed at gathering input from those affected by the shooting.

An independent commission investigating the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history is about to hear from more family members of the victims of the tragedy.

The commission, established by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, is reviewing the facts surrounding the Oct. 25 shootings that killed 18 people in a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston. The panel, which includes former judges and prosecutors, is also reviewing the police response to the shootings.

Victims who spoke at a previous hearing held by the panel last month said authorities had a chance to remove guns from shooter Robert Card before the rampage and did not. Kathleen Walker, whose husband Jason was killed while rushing at Card to try to stop him, said: “The system failed, and we can’t allow this to happen again.”


More victims are set to speak Monday at the hearing in Lewiston. The commission is expected to produce a comprehensive report about the shootings. The purpose of Monday’s meeting is “to hear from victims and others impacted by the shootings,” said Kevin Kelley, a spokesperson for the commission.

Card, an Army reservist, was found dead by self-inflicted gunshot wound after a manhunt that followed the shootings. Police and the Army were both warned that Card was suffering from deteriorating mental health in the months that preceded the shootings.

Relatives of Card, 40, warned police that he was displaying paranoid behavior and they were concerned about his access to guns. He was hospitalized for two weeks in July after he shoved a fellow reservist and locked himself in a motel room during training. Then, in September, a fellow reservist told an Army superior he was concerned Card was going to “snap and do a mass shooting.”

The commission is scheduled to hold another hearing on Thursday in Augusta to hear from members of the U.S. Army. The names of those expected to speak will be released at the meeting, Kelley said. The hearing with Army officials will be the seventh held by the commission and is the final hearing currently scheduled.


In previous hearings, law enforcement officials have defended the approach they took with Card in the months before the shootings. Members of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office testified that the state’s yellow flag law makes it difficult to remove guns from a potentially dangerous person.

Democrats in Maine are looking to make changes to the state’s gun laws in the wake of the shootings. Mills wants to change state law to allow law enforcement to seek a protective custody warrant to take a dangerous person into custody to remove weapons.

Other Democrats in Maine have proposed a 72-hour waiting period for most gun purchases. The proposals will likely give rise to a robust debate in Maine, where gun ownership is higher than most of the Northeast.

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