Five months before Maine's deadliest mass shooting, the gunman’s family alerted a sheriff that they were becoming concerned about his deteriorating mental health while he had access to firearms, authorities said Monday. The Sagadohoc County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Robert Card’s Army Reserve unit, which said it would speak to Card and make sure he got medical attention, Sheriff Joel Merry said, reports the Associated Press. The family’s concern about Card’s mental health dated back to early this year before the sheriff’s office was contacted in May. Card 40, a firearms instructor, marched into a Lewiston bowling alley and a bar last Wednesday, killing 18 people and wounding 13 others.
Card underwent a mental health evaluation last summer after accusing soldiers of calling him a pedophile, shoving one and locking himself in his room during training. A bulletin sent to police shortly after last week’s attack said Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks after “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base. On Sept. 15, a sheriff’s deputy was sent to Card’s home for a wellness check at the request of the reserve unit after a soldier said he was afraid Card was “going to snap and commit a mass shooting” because he was hearing voices again. The deputy could not find him. Card’s reserve unit had grown sufficiently concerned that it had decided to take away his military-issued firearms. Card’s brother said he had put Card’s firearms in a gun safe in the family farm and would work with their father to move the guns somewhere else and make sure Card couldn’t get other firearms. After last week's shooting, authorities recovered several weapons while searching for Card and believed he had legally purchased them, including a Ruger SFAR rifle found in his car. A Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle and Smith & Wesson M&P .40-caliber handgun were with his body.