NATIONAL NEWS

Sheriff in Maine mass shooting had cause to take killer into custody beforehand, report says

Mar 15, 2024, 1:58 PM | Updated: 2:12 pm

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — An independent commission investigating a mass shooting that left 18 dead in Maine issued an interim report Friday that has found that a sheriff’s office had cause to take the killer into custody beforehand.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — An independent commission investigating Maine’s worst mass shooting issued an interim report Friday.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey assembled the commission to review both the events leading up to Oct. 25, when Army reservist Robert Card killed 18 people in a bowling alley and a bar, and the response to the tragedy.

Led by a former chief justice of Maine’s highest court, the commission also included a former U.S. attorney and the former chief forensic psychologist for the state. It held seven sessions starting in November, hearing from law enforcement, survivors and victims’ family members and members of the U.S. Army Reserve as it explored whether anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy and what changes should be made going forward.

Card, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot after a two-day search, was well known to law enforcement, and his family and fellow service members had raised flags about his behavior, deteriorating mental health and potential for violence before the shootings.

In May, relatives warned police that Card had grown paranoid, and they expressed concern about his access to guns. In July, Card was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for two weeks after shoving a fellow reservist and locking himself in a motel room. In August, the Army barred him from handling weapons while on duty and declared him nondeployable. And in September, a fellow reservist texted an Army supervisor about his growing concerns about Card, saying, “I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting.”

But law enforcement officials told commission members that Maine’s yellow flag law makes it difficult to remove guns from potentially dangerous people.

“I couldn’t get him to the door. I can’t make him open the door,” said Sgt. Aaron Skolfield, who visited Card’s home for a welfare check in September. “If I had kicked in the door, that would’ve been a violation of the law.”

In later testimony, those involved in the search for Card in the shooting’s aftermath acknowledged potential missed opportunities to find him and end the search that locked down the community and terrified residents. Some of the most emotional testimony came family members who tearfully described scenes of blood, chaos and panic followed by unfathomable loss.

Rachael Sloat, who was engaged to be married to shooting victim Peton Berwer Ross, told the committee that her heart breaks every time their 2-year-old daughter asks for her daddy.

“Where are you?” she said. “Every politician, every member of law enforcement, every registered voter in the country – I want you to hear those words. ‘Where are you?’ Because my fellow Americans, where are you? We failed my little girl.”

National News

Associated Press

A fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police say a fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store. The person died Saturday evening, Arkansas state police said in a statement. A total of 14 people were wounded in Friday’s shooting, according to police: “11 civilians, two law enforcement officers and the […]

16 minutes ago

Associated Press

2 people were taken to a hospital after lightning struck a tree near a PGA Tour event in Connecticut

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Two people were taken to the hospital Saturday after lightning struck a tree near a home along a golf course that is hosting the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. The home is just north of the fifth green at TPC River Highlands, which is hosting the tournament one week after the U.S. […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Rains, cooler weather help firefighters gain ground on large wildfires in southern New Mexico

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Recent rains and cooler weather are helping more than 1,000 firefighters gain ground on two wildfires in southern New Mexico on Saturday that have killed two people, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to flee. Fire crews took advantage of temperatures in the 70s, scattered showers and light winds to […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

One dead, seven injured after shooting at Kentucky nightclub

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — One person is dead and seven others were injured after a shooting at a Kentucky nightclub early Saturday morning, authorities say. Louisville Metro Police Department officials said they responded to a call of several people shot at the H20 nightclub in Louisville just before 1 a.m. One man, 40-year-old Joseph D. […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Man trying to drown 2 children on Connecticut beach is stopped by officers, police say

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A man trying to drown two small children at a Connecticut beach early Saturday morning was thwarted by police officers, according to authorities. An officer spotted an SUV parked on a beach in West Haven at about 2:30 a.m. and heard “significant screaming” from the water as he approached. As […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Senate in Massachusetts passes bill curtailing use of plastics including bags, straws

BOSTON (AP) — The state Senate in Massachusetts has passed a wide-ranging bill curtailing the use of plastics, including barring the purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies. The bill, approved Thursday, also bans carry-out plastic bags at retailers statewide and require stores to charge 10 cents for recycled paper bags. It also requires […]

10 hours ago

Sheriff in Maine mass shooting had cause to take killer into custody beforehand, report says