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Family of Maine Shooter Details Efforts for Psychiatric Aid

Family members of the Army reservist who killed 18 people last fall in Lewiston, Maine shared wrenching accounts of the months leading up to the shooting when they repeatedly tried to get help for the troubled 40-year-old shooter, Robert Card, The New York Times reports. Nicole Herling, Card's sister, addressed some of her most pointed remarks to the Army and Defense Department. She said she left multiple, mostly unanswered, phone messages at the Army Reserve training center, before the shooting happened, seeking help in tracking down her brother’s supervisors so that she could share concerns about his state of mind. Card, a longtime Army Reserve grenade instructor, was exposed to thousands of blasts in his years of training cadets; trauma detected in his brain by scientists after his death has raised questions about the effects of the repeated exposures on his mental health.

The seven-member Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston has met regularly since November, pressing law enforcement and Army officials to explain why and how their interventions fell short as Card’s paranoia and erratic behavior escalated. The commission’s interim report, issued in March, found that the local Sheriff’s Department had “sufficient probable cause” to take Card into custody and seize his weapons before the shooting on Oct. 25. Card’s ex-wife, Cara Lamb, testified that when she asked staff members at her son’s school what could be done to intervene last May, they told her there was “only so much” anyone could do until Card made explicit threats. “It’s on all of us to make sure the next time we need to get help for someone, we do better,” she said.

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