UPDATED: Maine parish in lockdown as manhunt is underway for gunman who killed 18

By Shireen Korkzan
Posted Oct 26, 2023

A woman is hugged by a man at a reunification center at Auburn Middle School, in Auburn, Maine, after shootings in Lewiston on Oct. 25, 2023. Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via AP

Editor’s note: Lockdown orders were lifted Oct. 27 after the suspect, Robert Card, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

[Episcopal News Service] Trinity Episcopal Church in Lewiston, Maine, is currently in lockdown while a manhunt is underway for an Army reservist who allegedly shot and killed 18 people and injured 13 others in a bar and bowling alley on the evening of Oct. 25.

“We are deeply saddened by the recent events that have taken place in Lewiston and the neighborhoods of the Androscoggin,” the church posted on its Facebook page. “Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all brothers and sisters throughout the community – and indeed our nation.”

Law enforcement officials have asked Lewiston and nearby cities to shelter in place until the suspect is apprehended.

Lewiston is Maine’s second most-populated city with approximately 38,000 people, according to the United States Census Bureau. It’s located 36 miles north of Portland, the state’s largest city by population.

The Portland-based Episcopal Diocese of Maine posted a prayer on Facebook for Lewiston residents:

“God, be with the people of Lewiston. Keep them safe. Comfort those who have lost someone, the injured, those in fear. Strengthen all working to stop further loss of life. Amen.”

The diocese will host a prayer vigil today at 5:30 p.m. Eastern over Zoom. Maine Bishop Thomas Brown, New Hampshire Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld and Vermont Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown will be in attendance. The prayer vigil will be held in lieu of a previously scheduled virtual pre-convention meeting, which will now take place Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.

Episcopal News Service has reached out to both the diocese and Trinity for comment.

The shooting occurred shortly before 7 p.m. local time at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, located less than three miles from Trinity. Seven people died on the scene. The suspect then drove a white SUV to the nearby Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, located less than two miles from Trinity, where he shot and killed eight more people. Three people died at the hospital.

The suspect, a 40-year-old man named Robert Card, a sergeant first class who, according to Reuters, enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2002, is still at large and is considered “armed and dangerous.” The Lewiston Police Department is asking anyone who’s aware of his whereabouts to contact law enforcement and not make any contact with him.

“While Trinity remains in lockdown until this suspect is apprehended, we look ahead to the time when we can gather again, and be part of leading our community in mourning, remembering, and placing what we do not understand in the hands of God,” Trinity wrote on Facebook.

-Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service. She can be reached at skorkzan@episcopalchurch.org.