The office of the Sagadahoc Couinty, Me., sheriff, the site of a mass killing in October, will explore the creation of a multi-jurisdictional mental health response team, reports the Maine Morning Star. At its second meeting, the Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston interviewed officers from the sheriff's department for almost six hours about their involvement with Robert Card before he killed 18 people on Oct. 25. Daniel Wathen, chair of the commission, said Maine State Police compiled an investigative file on the incident that’s 95% complete.
While deputies never made direct contact with Card before the shooting, they were contacted regarding concerns for his mental health on two occasions. The department first learned about concerns for Card’s mental health in May 2023 through his son and ex-wife. While Deputy Chad Carleton wanted to talk to Card directly, his family felt that wouldn’t be a good idea. Instead, Carleton contacted the Army Reserves in Saco, Me., wherre Card was a member. Carleton felt assured that the family and the Army had a plan to address the concerns. Sgt. Aaron Skolfield was aware that Card was heard making threats to shoot-up places. He didn’t know about Carleton’s previous interaction with the family. Because no one from the department ever actually saw Card face to face, they weren’t able to assess his mental health or start the process for Maine’s yellow flag law. Witnesses cited flaws in Maine’s law that Carleton described as “cumbersome.” Under the yellow flag law, an officer needs to take someone into temporary protective custody or have them voluntarily agree to bring them to a medical provider for an evaluation. Carleton said, “there isn’t a tool in the tool box to create that face-to-face legally.”